Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart
George Clooney for Up in the Air
Colin Firth for A Single Man
Morgan Freeman for Invictus
Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker
This one feels like it’s been complicated in recent weeks, too. I still don’t think Jeremy Renner will have the momentum to take the prize and I would be shocked if Clooney wins, even though I would cite Up in the Air as his finest performance. He should also, as argued by Stephanie Zacharek, be rewarded for his great role in Fantastic Mr Fox, but unfortunately that film, like Clooney, will go home empty-handed.
Of the other three, Jeff Bridges seems easily the frontrunner, just not as solid at the likes of Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz. It would be, akin to Marty’s Departed prizes and, to an extent, the Coens with No Country, something of a rewarding-the-past moment. Bridges has never won an Oscar which, when you put it like that and consider his great performances over the years (a small selection: The Last Picture Show, Fat City, Starman, The Contender, The Big Lebowski, The Fisher King…) it does seem a travesty.
Where he may slip up is through the acknowledgement that it would be a past-rewards prize rather than one for the performance. That probably isn’t true, but it could hurt him. Morgan Freeman is unlikely, mostly due to the lukewarm reception for Invictus, but don’t count out Colin Firth. His performance is astonishing and with the momentum from BAFTA, he could snatch this one at the last.
Predicted Winner: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart