This is the year's most packed category. Maybe this could be like the Emmys, where there were seven Best Actress nominees.
1. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Geez this guy is great. He's great in the movie, he has Mud on his resume, ran away with the first ten minutes of The Wolf of Wall Street, and also is incredible in the first episode of True Detective. God he's on a hot streak. And the best way to reward Matthew McConaughey is with an Oscar. Nomination, at least.
2. Chiwetel Ejiofer, 12 Years a Slave
What a triumphant performance. Really. This movie is great, and Ejiofer owns it.
3. Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Yo. The movie's good, and Dern was probably the best part of it. It's funny on paper, and right below it is withering humanity and regret. And Dern, a well-liked Academy member, might get his nomination almost like a lifetime achievement sort of deal.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Quality film, and DiCaprio being an actor that tends to overact, totally owns this role that is so unhinged and so damn crazy. Also winning the Golden Globe doesn't hurt.
5. Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
He's Tom Hanks. Two-time Oscar winner in two years. Also the movie's based off a true story, that doesn't hurt.
Also don't forget about Robert Redford (All is Lost) and Christian Bale (American Hustle), two performances that would easily slide in if it was less crowded.