The nominations for the 2013 Oscars were announced bright and early this morning, and that brings with it another time-honored tradition: The Oscar betting pool! It’s the time of the year when suddenly everyone is a regular Siskel and Ebert, passionately weighing in on a bunch of films that we (probably) haven’t seen, guessing who’s going to take home the little gold bald dude. Normally we just bet on the thespian who has won the most accolades in the past, but this year it gets a little more tricky: ALL of the Best Supporting Actors have won Oscars before! The track record is fairly similar in the Best Leading Actor category too, with Academy honored legends like Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington and Joaquin Phoenix going head to head. Ahh, clash of the Titans! What are we going to do!?
Well, never fear, folks, because we’ve taken the time to handicap all of the actors for you, in basically the least-expert way possible. We went through their cinematic performances broken down into all the pros and cons that you need to make an informed decision for your Oscar night scorecard. Don’t worry, we’ve got one for the actresses too! Read on…
Daniel Day-Lewis: Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln
Why He Has A Good Shot: Not only did the master craftsman give the performance of his career by bringing back the controversial president, but he also grew his own beard, you guys.
What Might Hold Him Back: The Academy forgets that his last name has a hyphen, accidentally awards an Oscar to a “Daniel Day Lewis.”
Bradley Cooper: Pat Solitano in Silver Linings Playbook
Why He Has A Good Shot: Brad really showed that he was much more than a pretty face/funny guy in David O. Russell’s alt- dramedy.
What Might Hold Him Back: People are still pissed at him for beating out Ryan Gosling as People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive back in 2011.
Joaquin Phoenix: Freddie Quell in The Master
Why He Has A Good Shot: We’re just glad to have him back after all that I’m Still Here fake rapper BS.
What Might Hold Him Back: That time he called the Oscars “bulls–t”… Yeah, that probably won’t help things.
Hugh Jackman: Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
Why He Has A Good Shot: He sings! He acts! He looks great! He went method and starved himself, giving up coffee and food. Can you believe it? COFFEE! The dude gave his all to become Jean Valjean. Plus, he hosted back in 2009, so they kind of owe him.
What Might Hold Him Back: His name always sounded to us like one of those obscene prank phone-call names, in the vein of “Hugh G. Rection” and “Maya Normousbutt .” Maybe it’s just us.
Denzel Washington: Captain Whip Whitaker in Flight
Why He Has A Good Shot: Denzel has returned to form in a heart-wrenching and nuanced performance as an airline pilot with a drug problem.
What Might Hold Him Back: The film takes a rather dim view of excessive sex, drugs and alcohol consumption. Hollywood will never get onboard.
Best Supporting Actors
Philip Seymour Hoffman: Lancaster Dodd in The Master
Why He Has A Good Shot: He gave a gripping performance as Lancaster Dodd, who is reportedly based on controversial Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
What Might Hold Him Back: See above.
Robert De Niro: Pat Solitano, Sr. in Silver Linings Playbook
Why He Has A Good Shot: Because he’s Robert f*&#ing De Niro, that’s why.
What Might Hold Him Back: If Jay-Z has any sway. He might want revenge for that time ol’ Bobby yelled at him during Leonardo DiCaprio’s Birthday.
Christoph Waltz: Dr. King Shultz in Django Unchained
Why He Has A Good Shot: Playing for the good guys after his Oscar-winning performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as the evil Colonel Hans Landa, Christoph turn as the urbane bounty hunter takes badassery to new heights.
What Might Hold Him Back: Wait, wait, Hans Landa’s nickname was WHAT!? Ooof.
Alan Arkin: Lester Siegel in Argo
Why He Has A Good Shot: He plays a Hollywood producer in the film, and bigwigs might appreciate that someone is bringing the story of the humble producer to the screen finally.
What Might Hold Him Back: Too Many A’s. Just read it: “An Academy Award For Alan Arkin Acting In Argo.” It’s ridiculous.
Tommy Lee Jones: Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln
Why He Has A Good Shot: He kept that brain-zapping thingy from Men In Back 3 and just rigged the votes.
What Might Hold Him Back: Aliens from Men In Black 3 invade the Academy, watch Lincoln, find it boring.
[Photos: Universal Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, The Weinstein Company]