Kenneth Branagh "My Week With Marilyn"
Albert Brooks "Drive"
Armie Hammer "J. Edgar"
Ezra Miller "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Christopher Plummer "Beginners"
Other Contenders - Jonah Hill "Moneyball". Philip Seymour Hoffman "Moneyball", Philip Seymour Hoffman "The Ides of March", George Clooney "The Ides of March", Viggo Mortensen "A Dangerous Method", Thomas Horn "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close", Nick Nolte "Warrior", Patton Oswalt "Young Adult", Neils Astrup "War Horse", Benedict Cumberbatch "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", Paul Giamatti "The Ides of March", Jim Broadbent "The Iron Lady", John Hawkes "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Commentary - There are so many contenders in this category that are so uncertain either because of less-than-stellar reviews (The Ides of March boys, Viggo Mortensen), their unfamiliarity in the Oscar race (Patton Oswalt, Jonah Hill), overexposure (Hoffman), or loss of buzz (Nick Nolte in Warrior) making this either an incredibly weak race, or the most confusing and unknown of the year. There is one staple however that has remained and that is Christopher Plummer. Between this film, and his other films such as Barrymore and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Plummer is hitting a late-career stride, and I think it could be his year to finally win an overdue Academy Award. Albert Brooks is another veteran, whose scene-stealing turn is getting a lot of praise. But while the Academy doesn't always go for more stylish films like Drive, this is a type of performance that usually gets a lot of attention. We haven't see My Week With Marilyn yet, but Branagh playing Olivier is sure to be a spectacle. In the last two spots I am going with younger talents who are looking for their breakthrough performances. Armie Hammer was a standout in The Social Network this year, and while the J.Edgar trailer has left me less than pleased, he does look pretty good as Edgar's lover. Finally, I am going out on a limb for the incredibly disturbing, yet masterful performance of Ezra Miller in We Need to Talk About Kevin. Hopefully this will get a nice campaign push for both Miller and Swinton, and if they are impressed, I think he could be one to watch for.