Russell Crowe "Les Miserables"
Leonardo Dicaprio "Django Unchained"
Sean Penn "Gangster Squad"
Joaquin Phoenix "The Master"
David Strathairn "Lincoln"
Other Contenders - Tommy Lee Jones "Lincoln", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "Lincoln", Mark Strong "Zero Dark Thirty", Chiwetel Ejiofor "Savannah', Philip Seymour Hoffman "The Master", Tom Hardy "The Dark Knight Rises", William H. Macy "The Surrogate", George Clooney "Gravity", Samuel L. Jackson "Django Unchained", Tobey Maguire "The Great Gatsby", Joel Edgerton "The Great Gatsby", John Goodman "Argo", Alan Arkin "Argo", Don Cheadle "Fight", Michael Fassbender "Twelve Years a Slave", Josh Hutcherson "The Hunger Games", Alec Baldwin "Nero Fiddled", Roberto Benigni "Nero Fiddled", Dwight Henry "Beasts of the Southern Wild", Bradley Cooper "The Place Beyond the Pines", Paul Giamatii "Cosmopolis", Domnhal Gleeson "Anna Karenina", Jude Law "Anna Karenina", Ray Liotta "Cogan's Trade", James Gandolfini "Cogan's Trade", Robert DeNiro "The Silver Lining's Playbook", Albert Brooks "This is Forty", Guy Pearce "The Wettest County", Ian McKellen "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", Andy Garcia "Hemingway and Fuentes", Don Johnson "Django Unchained", James Spader "Lincoln", Woody Harrelson "Seven Psychopaths", Tom Cruise "Rock of Ages", Justin Timberlake "The Trouble With the Curve", Alexander Skaarsgard "What Maisie Knew", Bill Nighy "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", Ralph Fiennes "Great Expectations", Christoph Waltz "Django Unchained"
Commentary - As with Supporting Actress, there are a lot of big names with films this year, and so discerning which ones will make the cut this early on is as difficult as always. In some cases, like Lincoln, there are so many potentials in the cast list alone, it is hard to discern. I am personally going with David Strathairn early on, because the role of William Seward should be a meaty and important one, although Tommy Lee Jones (as Thaddeus Stevens), and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Robert Todd Lincoln), also look like baity roles in a Best Picture frontrunner. There are also a lot of names from Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, but my money is on Leonardo Dicaprio. He has yet to win an Oscar, and this might be teh Christoph Waltz-esque role that gets him his first (Ironically, Waltz is also a big contender as is Jackson for the film). Les Miserables has some big names, but Russell Crowe taking on a musical looks like something to be excited for, as does Sean Penn's take on a gangster. The final slot is going to someone, although controversial lately, is an incredible actor, Joaquin Phoenix, but he will face internal competition from Philip Seymour Hoffman. Also watch out for the Argo's crew, Macy, Hardy, Clooney, "Gatsby" crew, as well as others.