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Decoding The Oscars: Best Actor
Posted by LaDale Anderson on Feb 15, 2013 - 6:51:00 AM

HOLLYWOOD—The Best Actor race at this year’s Academy’s awards is a race where most have an idea who will reign victorious, but that does not mean an upset isn’t possible.  Go back to 2003’s Academy Awards where everyone was certain that Jack Nicholson would win the prize for “About Schmidt,” but the award ended up going to Adrian Brody for “The Pianst.”  Let’s take a look at the contenders this time around as two newcomers, two multiple nominees and a previous nominee all vie for the prize. 


First up we have Joaquin Phoenix who many predicted killed his chances of landing an Oscar nomination after slamming the Academy, but his performance proved one that the Academy could not afford to ignore for his riveting portrayal in “The Master.”  He brings a complex character to life that audiences have been buzzing about since the movie debuted.  It doesn’t hurt that he has high-caliber co-stars like Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams on his side. Side note: he was nominated in 2005 for his work as Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line.”

Denzel Washington in "Flight."


Bradley Cooper earns his first nomination this year for his work as Pat Solitano in “Silver Linings Playbook.”  His performance is a revelation on the big screen as he infuses vitality into a character that the audience will connect to.  It’s not easy to portray a mentally ill character, but Cooper charms the audience with his bravura as well as his impeccable acting chops that in my opinion should warrant him the Academy Award, but he’s a first timer and will likely have more chances at Oscar.


Hugh Jackman has always been a fave of the Academy so it’s a surprise that the triple threat is garnering his first nomination for his work as Jean Valjean in the world-renown musical “Les Misérables.”  He is a character that has encountered some difficult times and he is indeed the star of the musical, next to Anne Hathaway.  He brings ferocity, moral compass and heart to a character that audiences could easily turn away from after his actions lead to the tragic events of heroine Fantine (Hathaway).  Jackman indeed commands the role, but in my opinion, Hathaway’s work is what everyone is buzzing about.


Denzel Washington has earned his sixth Academy Award nomination for his work in “Flight.”  He previously picked up Best Actor nominations for “Malcolm X” and “The Hurricane.”  He has taken home two Oscars, one for Best Supporting Actor for “Glory” and one for Best Actor for “Training Day.” His performance as flight attendant Whip Whittaker is astonishing.  Washington takes a character that is the ultimate anti-hero and makes the audience fall in love with this tortured soul.  It is indeed one of Washington’s finest performances to date, I would argue if Daniel Day-Lewis was not in this Oscar race Washington would be a contender for his third Oscar.


The man of the hour is none other than Daniel Day-Lewis for his work as the nations 16th President Abraham Lincoln in the biopic “ Lincoln.”  To say that Lewis encompasses our great President is an understatement; he is Lincoln hands down and that’s a testament to fine acting.  Lewis is known for being a method actor who digs deep to portray characters on the big screen.  His work is absolutely flawless which proves why the actor will take home his third, yep third, Best Actor Academy Award on Sunday, February 24.  He previously took home the award for his work in “My Left Foot” and “There Will be Blood.”  Is anyone willing to argue with me otherwise? 


Cliffside Malibu




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