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Best Actor in a Leading Role 2011 – 2012

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Listed in accordance to likely win


Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

George Clooney“The Descendants”

Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Demián Bichir, “A Better Life”

Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”



Updated: December 19, 2011

The Screen Actors Guild complicated things. It solidified what was known and added a few more possibilities to ponder:

  • George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Jean Dujardin are certain nominees. They have been the constants throughout critics lists and with SAG.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio remains a viable threat, despite J. Edgar‘s critical dismissal.
  • Michael Fassbender stills remains an outside chance, though rebounded from his SAG dismissal with a Golden Globe nomination.
  • Demián Bichir’s SAG notice puts him in contention.
  • Michael Shannon has had some critical support early on, but the lack of support from both the Golden Globes and SAG hurts his chances (though his supporting performance in Revolutionary Road in 2008 went unnoticed and he still got nominated by the Academy in the end).
  • Woody Harellson and especially Gary Oldman are long shots. There were certain expectations going in with Oldman’s performance, and with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy coming out so late in the game, Focus Features is losing time to build momentum.
It’s a tight race to fit into those last two spots. But given that the field was so often thought to be open and shut, the fact that any fluidity exists makes things infinitely more interesting.



Updated: December 3, 2011

Throughout the awards season, there’s been a general consensus that the big four have been George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt, and Gary Oldman. Once J. Edgar dropped, there was an initial buzz that solidified the slate and bestowed the fifth slot to Leonardo DiCaprio. But given J. Edgar’s middling critical response, DiCaprio’s chances have faded, therein relinquishing the fifth spot and making it up for grabs yet again.

The problem here is that the general acceptance of a big four serves to dilute the conversation away from the frontrunners and onto those on the outside. It’s generally accepted that Michael Fassbender, Woody Harrelson, and Michal Shannon are vying for position, with Ryan Gosling’s performances in The Ides of March and Drive bringing up the rear.

So as Brad Pitt gets cited by the New York film critics (with Dujardin coming in third; Fassbender in second). Similarly, George Clooney was cited by the National Board of Review. Outside of the conversation, however, is Gary Oldman. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’s pole position has been down a tick over the past week, and his lack of recognition has made me question just how secure his spot is in the grand scheme of things.



Updated: October 24, 2011

Flip-flopping yet again with the final spot. Given that Fox Searchlight is going full-on with a Shame campaign, I’m going with Michael Fassbender. If there’s one person who I think will benefit from the push, it’s going to be Fassbender. But as it is, I’m not seeing a whole lot of movement outside of the first 8.



Updated: October 15, 2011

Not much has changed: George Clooney and Brad Pitt remain front-runners, with Jean Dujardin and Gary Oldman likely set for a nomination. The final spot is what is up for grabs; though even that could change if Leonardo DiCaprio‘s performance in J. Edgar proves to be formidable. I’m predicting Michael Shannon at the moment, but that’s largely based on personal preference.



Updated: October 4, 2011 

I think most people are rethinking where exactly J. Edgar sits in the awards season – call it intuition, but it seems like everything about the film, including Leonardo DiCaprio‘s performance, will likely not make the waves it was initially expected to. Still, he’s very much in the race. It’s really going to come down to the first three and some combinations of Jean Dujardin, Ryan Gosling (for The Ides of March), Michael Fassbender, Michael Shannon, and Leonardo DiCaprio.

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