If the lead actress Oscar race already seems fairly settled for Jennifer Lawrence as we argued here, the outcome of the lead actor contest seems even more of a foregone conclusion. The best argument against Daniel Day-Lewis' inside-out, understated genius in "Lincoln" is that academy voters might be inclined to give the respected John Hawkes or the gonzo Joaquin Phoenix a first Oscar before bestowing Day-Lewis a third. Or that magazine covers like this one create a backlash of resentment that might work against the "world's greatest actor."
We're not buying it. Then again, we haven't heard Hugh Jackman sing "Bring Him Home" in "Les Miz," so maybe come Thanksgiving weekend, we'll be whistling a different tune. For the moment, though, here's an early snapshot of the race for best actor.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
2. Denzel Washington, "Flight"
3. Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
4. John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
5. Anthony Hopkins, "Hitchcock"
Bubbling under: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”; Jean Louis Trintignant, “Amour”; Richard Gere, “Arbitrage”; Bill Murray, “Hyde Park on Hudson”; Ben Affleck, “Argo”; Matt Damon, “Promised Land”; Suraj Sharma, “Life of Pi”; Tom Hanks, “Cloud Atlas”; Jack Black, “Bernie”