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Oscars 2013: Why Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor

Last updated on: February 12, 2013 13:29 IST

Oscars 2013: Why Daniel Day-Lewis will win Best Actor

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Raja Sen in Mumbai
With two weeks time for the Academy Awards, it's time to look at the nominees more closely.

We kick things off with this year's hard-fought Best Actor race, and here are my thoughts about five men, five performances, and their chances for gold.

Bradley Cooper -- Silver Linings Playbook

Cooper, the pinup actor best known for bringing the pretty-boy factor to the Hangover franchise, came into his own this year with David O Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, a film with an exceptional ensemble cast.

Playing a bipolar protagonist, Cooper befuddles and charms the audience all at once, and delivers a performance that marks him out as an actor to watch.

Does he deserve a victory, though? Against this level of competition? Not by a long shot, but he should take solace in the fact that future Hangover trailers will mark him out as "Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper."

Image: Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook


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Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

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Pretty much the de facto best actor of his generation, the magnificent Daniel Day-Lewis breathes life into Steven Spielberg's stuffy Abraham Lincoln film with his portrayal of the great president, and it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the legendary actor yet again.

Shining in the role, Day-Lewis is as brilliant as we expect him to be, and while I do not think this the year's finest performance, it will win the big prize, and we shall all applaud.

For every Day-Lewis film is a privilege for theatre-goers.

Image: Movie poster of Lincoln


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Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables

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There is much to be said for Jackman's commitment to Tom Hooper's ghastly film.

He lost over a dozen pounds for the opening scenes, and gained it all back for the rest of the film. He strains sinews and brow and, above all, endangers his vocal chords, and hits the trickiest of notes quite spectacularly.

Bravo, Wolverine.

Tragically, the director keeps trying to point out (in excruciating close-up) just how well his star has done, and shows off every ounce of his effort -- resulting in this being an admirable, yet not completely effective, performance.

Image: Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

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Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

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Phoenix nails the year's most demanding role with incredible, overwhelming consistency in Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, an intensely heady tour de force of a film which stretches all its performers to the very limit.

Phoenix, oscillating dramatically between a primal, violent self-assurance and complete, crippled insecurity, is jawdroppingly good and deserves every trophy in the world.

Tender, wistful, spirited: it is a performance for the ages.

So what if it's too good for the Oscars?

Image: Joaquin Phoenix in The Master


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Denzel Washington, Flight

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Washington has always been a reliably solid performer, and a vehicle like Robert Zemeckis's Flight lets him propel that potential all the way forward.

As deeply troubled (and perilously vodka-loving) airline captain Whip Whitaker, Washington is lethally good in the film.

It is an intense and thrilling performance, and yet one we aren't surprised by, so good has the actor been over the years.

If not for Phoenix and Day-Lewis, Washington could have been a frontrunner. This year, he's great -- just not great enough.

Image: Denzel Washington in Flight


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