1. Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables
This is another very bold prediction. No, I do not think Day-Lewis will win an unprecedented third Oscar for Best Actor, and I'm pretty sure the Academy loves Hugh. Nor do I think Les Miserables will go home empty handed.
2. Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook
The weird thing is that I'm starting to like Bradley Cooper as an actor now. He is doing more challenging roles, later seen in The Place Beyond the Pines and David O'Rusell's previously titled American Bulls***. When Silver Linings takes the top prize, it's going to take more than that. Also, Bradley's got Harvey with him.
3. Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
For the greatest actor of our generation, the academy might feel inclined to give some love to Danny. They probably won't give him a third Oscar, no man has ever won three Oscars for Best Actor in the first place. He will definitely be nominated, though.
4. Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
This is a very obvious nomination. After winning Best Actor in Venice, and only receiving love for this challenging role, he will be nominated. For those who don't like the film, however, they won't give him the boost for the win.
5. Anthony Hopkins for Hitchcock
Anthony Hopkins won Best Actor in 1991 for his terrifying work in The Silence of the Lambs. He is almost synonymous with horror (and Merchant-Ivory,), and if he does even OK as the Master of Suspense, he will be nominated.
I hate to leave Ben Affleck off for Argo (being in Daredevil and Gigli kills, man,), but something inside me tells me he has a better shot than Spielberg for Argo. Something also tells me that Lincoln might be ignored, a la Amistad.
Check back tomorrow for Best Supporting Actress predictions. While your at it, admire Joaquin Phoenix's performance by watching a trailer for The Master.