If this year's Best Actress competition is the race of the sixty-somethings (Close vs. Streep) that most people are predicting with the films still sight unseen, what kind of shape will the corresponding male category take? Could we see a race between 30-somethings in a sort of reverse age scenario of what normally occurs with actresses winning young and actors winning as soon as they have a gray hair or fifty.
As an Oscar pundit I'm always trying to roll different scenarios on my tongue to see how they taste. How about this: What if this year's race is between Leonardo DiCaprio in J Edgar who will draw strength both from his past Oscar history and from AMPAS Official Favorite Genre (the biopic) and Ryan Gosling in The Ides of March? Gosling will be propped up by last year's Blue Valentine snub, his sure to be iconic character in Drive, and his general quickly achieved status as THE best of his generation...on this side of the Atlantic at least. I assume Michael Fassbender is just warming up. And what if the vote siphoning ingredient is not Clooney or Fassbender or whomever but Cannes Best Actor winner Jean DuJardin in The Artist?
I know most people have called this one for Leo despite J Edgar being sight unseen and Clint Eastwood's Oscar appeal slightly faded. On paper (Oscar weight paper), yes he looks unstoppable. That's especially true because if Gosling proves his main competition, well, Gosling is very young still for Oscar votes being only one year older at this writing as the youngest Best Actor winner ever (Adrien Brody, The Pianist). But I always hesitate to assume that we know winners before we have seen virtually any of the competitive work. I mean, would fans of other young movie giants of their day ever assume that Paul Newman or Al Pacino or Peter O'Toole or whomever would have to wait as long as they did or are? Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, both as big as Leo, are still waiting, too.
Nothing is certain until it's already happened.
As for Supporting Actor, The Ides of March is the big reigning question mark in the same way that The Help (previous posts) is for the ladies with multiple appealing choices for voters. The political drama has three former Oscar nominees, two of them winners, all circling 'round and talking at Ryan Gosling in the actor friendly piece. Who will voters favor: showy Philip Seymour Hoffman, subtle (at least in comparison) Paul Giamatti, or charismatic George Clooney?
Make your wild guesses now! Soon the movies are upon us. Wheeee