Jared Leto has a cat and its in the bag.
1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Again, Jared Leto has a cat and its in the bag. He's won so many precursors and critics groups prizes.
2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Seriously powerful stuff. Fassbender is finally getting his first Oscar nom, and it couldn't be a better film to have a nominate him for. He treats performance brutality with incredible weight.
3. James Gandolfini, Enough Said
This is the one notable film of the year that I have yet to see, along with Philomena. I've always liked Gandolfini, and there's no better way to celebrate his life than with an Oscar nomination.
4. Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
I honestly can't tell you what's so great about Abdi's performance. Sure, he hold his own against THE Tom Hanks, but what separates Abdi from his co-stars? You tell me. Others like him enough to give him Golden Globe and SAG nominations though.
5. Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
When it came down to Daniel Bruhl and Cooper, I had to pick Cooper. He's a great actor, and his role is more alive than what Bruhl does with Niki Lauda in Rush. Rush also has a major hurdle with Abdi too, and I've seen Abdi on the campaign trail a whole lot more than Bruhl. Maybe another year.
But if you do see a wildcard / dark horse contender, it will probably by Daniel Bruhl. And imagine, it was only a month ago when Tom Hanks (Saving Mr. Banks) appeared to be a lock!