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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

December 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Oscar talk: The actors

We talked about possible Oscar-buzzed actresses last month; now let’s take a look at the lead actor category. Variety has a story today about the sentimentality factor in the race: Does an actor who’s often nominated and never won have an edge? That didn’t work out for Peter O’Toole, who didn’t win on his eighth nomination (for “Venus” a couple of years ago), but it might help Jeff Bridges, a four-time nominee who’s getting big buzz this year for his role as a country singer in “Crazy Heart.” (Playing a country singer just might help, too; just ask Robert Duvall, who played one in “Tender Mercies” — and won).
Then there’s Colin Firth (who’s splendid in “A Single Man”) and Christopher Plummer (getting good notices for “The Last Station”) — neither of whom, to my surprise, has ever been nominated for an Oscar. Then we have George Clooney (“Up in the Air”) and Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”), both of whom have won the supporting category but never the lead. And, of course, the previous winners who’ve got big roles this year: Daniel Day-Lewis (“Nine”), Jamie Foxx (“The Soloist”), Russell Crowe (“State of Play”).
My wildcard votes for best actor (not counting the various gentlemen named above)? Viggo Mortensen in “The Road,” Tobey Maguire in “Brothers,” Clive Owen in “Duplicity,” Michael Stuhlbarg in “A Serious Man,” Joaquin Phoenix in “Two Lovers.” What’s the best performance by an actor you saw this year?
Freeman.jpg
(Photo: Morgan Freeman in “Invictus.” Warner Bros. Pictures.)

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