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2013 Oscar Predictions Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix The Master Best Actor Oscar2013 Oscar predictions Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, Daniel Day-Lewis

Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Day-Lewis look like the two shoo-ins for the 2013 Best Actor Oscar at this stage. Phoenix's nod will be for Paul Thomas Anderson's critically acclaimed but commercially disappointing The Master; Day-Lewis' will be for Steven Spielberg's generally well-received Lincoln, in which the two-time Oscar winner plays the title role. (Image: Joaquin Phoenix The Master.)

2013 Oscar predictions Best Actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Anthony Hopkins, and ...

Who else for the 2013 Best Actor Oscar shortlist? How about veteran Jean-Louis Trintignant for Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner and inevitable Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Amour? Trintignant, 82 next December 11, has never been nominated for an Academy Award and Amour is likely to be his very last film.

Anthony Hopkins for Sacha Gervasi's Hitchcock. Hopkins has earned four Academy Award nominations, two of which for playing real-life characters: Richard Nixon in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995) and John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997). Unless Hitchcock bombs with critics and audiences (it'll premiere at Los Angeles' upcoming AFI FEST), Hopkins will likely get his fifth Oscar nomination – his first in 15 years – for his performance as the Psycho director.

Philip Seymour Hoffman will be plugged in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance as a sort of L. Ron Hubbard in The Master. But the Academy's Actors Branch members may decide that, like Kate Winslet in The Reader, Hoffman is as much a lead in The Master as Joaquin Phoenix. If so, expect a Best Actor nod for Hoffman, who won for Capote in early 2006.

Else, (for the time being) we predict that slot no. 6 will go to ... Well, if this awards season U.S.-based critics' groups fall for John Hawkes in The Sessions, the Winter's Bone actor will have an excellent chance of getting his second Oscar nod. Hugh Jackman, for his part, has a showy role in Tom Hooper's Les Misérables, which promises to be major Oscar bait in just about every category. And then there's Denzel Washington, whose performance in Robert Zemeckis' Flight has earned positive reviews at the New York Film Festival.

More 2013 Oscar predictions Best Actor: Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Garrett Hedlund et al.

Other possibilities include Tom Hanks for Clout Atlas; Richard Gere for Arbitrage, in case Gere is remembered by critics' groups; Bradley Cooper for the well-received Silver Linings Playbook; Brad Pitt for Cannes 2012 entry Killing Them Softly; and Garrett Hedlund in On the Road.

Also: Sean Penn in The Weinstein Company's This Must Be the Place; Matt Damon for Promised Land; Suraj Sharma for Life of Pi; Bill Murray for Hyde Park on Hudson; Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained; and Matthias Schoenaerts in Rust and Bone.

And, why not, Aaron Johnson in Anna Karenina, Paul Rudd in This Is 40, Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, and Martin Freeman in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Ben Affleck is another 2013 Best Actor Oscar possibility – for Argo, which he also directed and co-produced. However, Affleck has a much better chance of being shortlisted in the Best Director category.

Joaquin Phoenix The Master picture: The Weinstein Company.

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