For an Oscar nominees roster featuring shocking snubs and surprises, it seems the battle for the Best Actor race may be the only category not stumping awards analysts this year.
While the category boasts esteemed actors whose performances range from a bipolar man returning to his family after a stint in a mental institution to a reformed prisoner hunted in 19th century France for breaking parole, Daniel Day Lewis is considered the stand-out favorite, according to film critics.
In the category of Best Picture presented:
"Amour" - a 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke.
"Argo" - a 2012 American dramatic thriller film directed by Ben Affleck.
"Beasts of the Southern Wild" - a 2012 American fantasy drama film directed by Benh Zeitlin and written by Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar from Alibar's one-act play Juicy and Delicious.
"Django Unchained" - a 2012 American epic western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.
"Les Misérables" - a 2012 British musical drama film produced by Working Title Films and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.
"Life of Pi" - a 2012 American 3D adventure drama film based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel of the same name. Directed by Ang Lee, the film is based on an adapted screenplay by David Magee, and stars Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, and Adil Hussain.
"Lincoln" - a 2012 American historical drama film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.
"Silver Linings Playbook" - an American romantic comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell, from a screenplay by Russell, adapted from the novel of the same name by Matthew Quick.
"Zero Dark Thirty" - a 2012 American historical drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal. Billed as "the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man," the film is a dramatization of the United States operation that found and killed Osama bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda. It was produced by Boal, Bigelow, and Megan Ellison.
In the category of Actor in a Leading Role presented:
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) - an American actor. He first gained recognition in the television series Alias. He later appeared in a supporting role in Wedding Crashers (2005), Yes Man (2008), and He's Just Not That into You (2009). He achieved fame with his roles in The Hangover (2009), The A-Team(2010), Limitless (2011), and Silver Linings Playbook (2012). His work in Silver Linings Playbook earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In 2011, People magazine named him the "Sexiest Man Alive".
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) - an American actor, music video director, producer, musician, and social activist. Phoenix started his career as a child actor and came to wide attention for his portrayal of Commodus in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as nominations for theGolden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild, Satellite Award, and BAFTA Award. He received wider recognition for his portrayal of musician Johnny Cash in the 2005 biographical film Walk the Line. His performance earned him several accolades and nominations, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He received his third Academy Award nomination for his critically acclaimed performance in the 2012 film The Master.
Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) - an English actor with both British and Irish citizenship. Day-Lewis, who grew up in London, is the son of actress Jill Balcon and Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis. Despite his training in the classical presentational acting style at the Bristol Old Vic, he is a method actor, known for his constant devotion to and research of his roles. Often, he will remain completely in character for the duration of the shooting schedule of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health. He is known as one of the most selective actors in the film industry, having starred in only five films since 1998, with as many as five years between roles. He has twice won the Academy Award for Best Actor, for his portrayals of Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989) and Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood (2007).
Denzel Washington (Flight) - an American actor, film director, and film producer. He has received much critical acclaim for his work in film since the 1990s, including for his portrayals of real-life figures such as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, Melvin B. Tolson, Frank Lucas, and Herman Boone. Washington is a featured actor in the films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and was a frequent collaborator of the late director Tony Scott. Washington has received two Golden Globe awards and a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Glory (1989) and Best Actor forTraining Day (2001).
Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables) - an Australian actor and producer who is involved in film, musical theatre, and television. Jackman has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as superhero, period, and romance characters. He is known for his long-running role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, as well as for his leads in Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, The Prestige, Australia, Real Steel, and Les Misérables. His work in Les Misérables also earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and his first Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy in 2013. He is a singer, dancer, and actor in stage musicals, and won a Tony Award for his role in The Boy from Oz. In November 2008, Open Salon named Jackman one of the sexiest men alive. Later that same month, People magazine named Jackman "Sexiest Man Alive." A three-time host of the Tony Awards, winning an Emmy Award for one of these appearances, Jackman also hosted the 81st Academy Awards on 22 February 2009.
In the category of Actress in a Leading Role presented:
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) - an American theater, film and television actress. She played guest roles in several television shows before making her feature film debut with the 2008 independent film Jolene. In 2011, Chastain gained wide public recognition for her starring roles in seven film releases; for her performance in The Help she received Best Supporting Actress nominations at the Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Awardceremonies. In 2012, Time magazine featured her as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World".
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) - an American child actress. She is known for her leading role as Hushpuppy in the critically acclaimed drama film Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), for which she became the youngest actress ever to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) - an American actress. Her first major role was as a lead cast member on TBS' The Bill Engvall Show(2007–2009) and she subsequently appeared in the independent films The Burning Plain (2008) and Winter's Bone (2010), for which she received nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Satellite Award, Independent Spirit Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress. At age 20, she was the second-youngest actress ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. At age 22, her performance as a recovering sex addict in the romantic comedy Silver Linings Playbook (2012) earned her the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and a second Academy Award nomination, amongst other accolades, making her the youngest person ever to be nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Actress
Naomi Watts (The Impossible) - a British-Australian actress who began her career in Australian television, where she appeared in series such as Hey Dad..! (1990), Brides of Christ (1991), E Street (1991) and Home and Away (1991). Her film debut was the 1986 drama For Love Alone.
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) - a French actress, best known for her roles in the films Hiroshima mon amour (1959),Léon Morin, Priest (1961), and Amour (2012). In 2013, Riva received the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role in Amour, and was nominated for an Academy Award for the same role. She is the oldest actress ever to have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. She had previously been BAFTA nominated in 1960 for her role in Hiroshima mon amour.
Full list of nominees on
Voice of Russia, Oscar.go.com, Digital Spy, ABC, Wikipedia