The contenders are:
Christian Bale in American Hustle:
Why He Will Win: Bale is a terrific, long-working actor giving a very strong performance in American Hustle. And some say that hair comb deserves it's own Oscar.
Why He Won't Win: He won just three years ago for The Fighter. Out of all the performances in American Hustle, his has the least buzz.
Bruce Dern in Nebraska: Bruce Dern is the veteran in the race giving a performance that many love. They may want to honor Nebraska and with the race getting tighter, he could sneak in and emerge as the surprise winner.
Why He Won't Win: Many say it's a supporting role, and the SAG was really his last chance at getting some momentum. He may take votes away from Ejiofor and McConaughey, but he won't get enough to win.
Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street:
Why He Will Win: Dicaprio gives a wideley acclaimed performance that is gaining steam in the home stretch. Dicaprio is an A list actors and voters could very well feel it's time to give him an Oscar at last as well as honor the movie. Given his SAG snub van be explained by the fact that W.O.W.S didn't come out early enough for SAG voters to see it, his aggressive campaigning could pay off..
Why He Won't Win: but it just could as easily not. The film has loud detractors and the fact that it's a comedy performance and that he's playing a very unlikeable character could stop him from winning. His BAFTA loss to Ejiofor deprived him of the last minute momentum that would have helped him go all the way.
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave:
Why He Will Win: Ejiofor is a highly respected actor playing the most sympathetic character in this race. If 12 Years wins Best Picture, a win for him is a possibility. And his BAFTA win proves that.
Why He Won't Win: His BAFTA win helps, but can be explained away by the fact he had a home-turf advantage since he is British. Despite the sympathetic nature of the role, it's still a very subtle controlled performance that has no really big Oscar scenes. He may be too new to take it.
Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyer's Club:
Why He Will Win: He gives an amazing, brilliantly transformative performance in a role that is right up Oscar's ally: An aids patient turned hero. His precursor dominance helps tremendously and Oscar voters seem to love the performance.
Why He Won't Win: Dern, Ejiofor, and especially Dicaprio are right on his tail. Some are put off by his speeches, thinking he comes across as arrogant, while others doubt they'll honor both him and Leto.
My prediction right now is McConaughey, who seems to be out in front,but Leo's buzz is getting me a little nervous. Gold Derby expert Tom O'neil is predicting Dicaprio and he was able to get Waltz, Streep, and Cotillard winning and those have all been the most recent acting upsets. It's also hard to see both Leto and McConaughey winning, but it definitely has happened in the past and does not hurt his chances in a huge way. And unlike those three surprise winners, Leo didn't win the BAFTA over his strongest competition, which can be explained by D.B.C's snub, but it also means that Leo has no opportunity for the last minute steam that clearly helped those three pull of the wins that they did. Although I'll concede that Dicaprio's snub at SAG is because of voters not being able to see the film, the SAG award for Best Actor has an incredibly strong track record with the Oscar, having matched perfectly 15 out of 19 times. It's an incredibly strong statistic that can't he thrown out so easily. And McConaughey is on top right now. I hope he will win and think he wil, but an upset could happen.
What do you think? Do you see McConaughey is assured or are you on team Leo? Or even with Ejiofor or Dern? What are your thoughts on screenplay races? Those races actually seem the trickiest to me. I'm still at Her and 12 Years, but both seem vulnerable, especially Her which could lose to American Hustle.