Part two of my Oscar predictions are here! I'm examining who's up this year, what does the race look like, and who will come out on top and why, along with who should win and why.
And without further ado...
And the nominees for Actor in a Leading Role are...
Jeff Bridges; Crazy Heart
George Clooney; Up In the Air
Colin Firth; A Single Man
Morgan Freeman; Invitcus
Jeremy Renner; The Hurt Locker
State of the Race: To be honest, there isn't much of a race. Firth won the BAFTA for his heartbreaking role as a gay professor coping with the loss of his partner, but he's not going to win. Freeman won it in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor in Million Dollar Baby, so we can cancel him out. Renner gave a breakout performance as an IED specialist who's addicted to war, but rarely does a performance like that win the golden statuette (the last time that happened, Jamie Foxx can away with it in '05 for Ray). That leaves us with Clooney in his career-best performance as a self-isolating man who flies across the county to fire people, and The Dude, in a soulful role as a washed-up country star looking for redemption and a way back into the spotlight.
And the Oscar goes to...The Dude. He's been nominated four times and not won, while George won Supporting Actor in 2006 for Syriana. Plus, he's won at the Golden Globes, and at the SAG Awards. The Dude will abide.
And the Oscar should go to...George Clooney. It was him at his best, finding the fragile nature of a hermit-shelled man ready to feel something with the human race. He's utterly heartbreaking.
And the nominees for Actress in a Leading Role are...
Sandra Bullock; The Blind Side
Helen Mirram; The Last Station
Carey Mulligan; An Education
Gabourey Sidibe; Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
Meryl Streep; Julie & Julia
State of the Race: Again, not much of a race. Lets (sadly) cancel out the newcomers, Mulligan and Sidibe, excellent as they may have been in their debut roles. Mirram won the Best Actress prize in 2007 for The Queen, so she's out. It's between Sandra, first-time Oscar nominee who shocked critics with her dramatic and inspiring performance as Southern mom to NFL rookie Michael Oher, vs. 16-time nominated, and two-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep, with another amazing role as light-hearted cooking legend Julia Child.
And the Oscar goes to...Sandra Bullock. Like Bridges, she's won most of the big awards (Golden Globes, Critics Choice Award, SAG award, all for Best Actress) leading up to the Awards ceremony, and Streep has won twice. When Bullock wins, she'll be the first actor to win an Oscar and a Razzie for Worst Actress (All About Steve).
And the Oscar should go to...Mulligan and Sidibe in a tie. For me, these two are hard to choose from, mostly because both gave true standout performances. The 24 year-old Mulligan is brilliant as Jenny, balancing her coming-of-age and her carnal desires for an older man. Sidible, who has never acted before, is a knockout as the title character, a 17-year-old living through hell with her abusive mother and raising a kid, but still finding the strength to carry on.
Part three is tomorrow, and a recap on my pics for the rest of the categories.