Best actor’s performances this year

Best actor race for the Golden Globes this year heats up with a wonderful pack of actors, some veterans in the world of movies, others newer but nevertheless worthy of an award season. The battle for best drama actor is however going to be fought by two odds-on-favorites Jeff Bridges (“Crazy Heart”) and George Clooney (“Up in the Air”) against Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Morgan Freeman (“Invictus”) and Tobey Maguire (“Brothers”). Predicting the outcome is a head-scratcher, so this turns out to be the most difficult category. Most pundits are betting on Bridges or Clooney, which is probably right, but no one should wager too much on the Globes. They’re predictably unpredictable. Sometimes voters like to take a surprising art-house turn, which would probably favor Colin Firth now. Also, just like the Oscars, Globe voters are often falling for famous actors who portray other famous people, which would benefit Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Maguire shouldn’t be written off because he’s done something impressive of late, crossing over from portraying a popcorn superhero like Spider-Man to doing an edgy role as a bedeviled ex-soldier in “Brothers.” Bridges and Clooney have all the buzz, though. In Bridges’ favor is the fact that he’s got the emotionally showy, gritty, brooding kind of role that often triumphs.

However, voters adore Clooney. He’s won twice – for “Syriana” and “O Brother, Where Are Thou?” His role has emotional gravitas too, as his character, a sly corporate employee, searches the friendly skies for love and a meaning to life. We would like to see Jeff Bridges win, but probably Clooney will go home with yet another award. In the best actor in a comedy category, the race is also strong-casted. We have Downey Jr. fighting for the title, with his strong performance as Sherlock Holmes, up against Matt Damon who gives a stellar performance in The Informant and award darling Daniel Day Lewis who has discovered a singing vocation in Nine. There are however two underdogs, and the author of these lines hopes there will be one of them going home with the award. There is Michael Stuhlbarg, that virtually no one has heard of before A Serious Man, the Coen Brothers’ latest masterpiece, who is probably delivering one of the year’s best performances, and there is young Joseph Gordon Levitt, delivering wonderfully nuanced acting in (500) Days of Summer. If Golden Globe voters are to go after their well-known recipe, my guess is Levitt could win, although Stuhlbarg is definitely the one.

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