Daniel Day-Lewis in 'Lincoln' (Photo: DreamWorks)
Daniel Day Day-Lewis is a lock. That's the consensus. Out of 24 Oscar-ologists on the awards megasite GoldDerby.com, all 24 agree -- including me. Most Oscar insiders I approached told me it was a lock, and deal with it. Another actor could win, responded 'Time Out New York' senior film writer Joshua Rothkopf, and "space aliens could sweep down on Price Waterhouse and steal all his ballots."
"He's a shoo-in because he portrays a real-life, heroic person in a front-runner to win Best Picture," said GoldDerby honcho Tom O'Neil. "Voters like to give out an acting award with Best Picture -- think Jean Dujardin in 'The Artist' and Russell Crowe in "'Gladiator.' Even if 'Lincoln' gets toppled by 'Argo,' Day-Lewis is still a lock because he's got all of the buzz and the mojo."
But what if this is the movie equivalent of the world ending in 2012 (along with the Mayan calendar)? Could the unspeakable happen? Before the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards anoints Day-Lewis on Sunday, or tosses the race up in the air, could nominees Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper unseat the two-time Oscar winner -- and why?
I asked Robert Licuria, an Australian and the only editor at GoldDerby.com bold (or foolish) enough to back Hugh Jackman for "Les Miserables" over DDL, how he got himself that far out on a limb? "At this stage of the looong Oscar race," Licuria replied, "Hugh could do it. If he kisses enough babies and shakes enough hands and pats enough backs, he could pull off a surprise. He's very popular. He's never been nominated. Do they really want to give DDL that third record-breaking Oscar already? I say he's slightly vulnerable. If he wins the Screen Actors Guild Awards then I might change my tune."
Is there any Aussie bias there? "There's a tiny bit of Aussie bias," Licuria confirmed.
Wynter Mitchell, who did time as an entertainment reporter at 'Us Weekly' and now covers the celebrity beat for BuzzMedia, said, "DDL not a lock for Oscars? I'm convinced it's anyone's game after the Golden Globes. SAG will be interesting."
Our own Meriah Doty added, "I'm starting believe he's no longer a lock. 'Silver Linings Playbook' could be the big surprise of the night and unseat 'Lincoln' in several categories. Bradley Cooper could get best actor. I know it seems strange -- but so are this year's Oscars!"
"I think just based on the number of acting Oscar nominations that 'Silver Linings Playbook' got," our own Jonathan Crow agreed, "it shows a (bewilderingly) strong support within the Academy. So who knows? Cooper could win even though J. Law acted rings around him. DDL is the most deserving. Of course, Kathryn Bigelow was most deserving of an Oscar nom in the directing category, and she got stiffed."
My former "Us Weekly" colleague and visual artist Trey Speegle said, "Check the odds-makers. They all favor DDL. To name-drop a bit, the night after Peter O'Toole lost to Forest Whitaker in '07, he said to me, 'My dad was a bookie. I looked at the odds and knew I didn't stand a chance.'"
The odds do favor DDL. The Las Vegas sports betting site LasVegasSportsBetting.com places Daniel Day-Lewis at 1/15. Done deal? I turned to my favorite New Jersey psychic, Juanita Dragoti Paladino, and she looked into the future and said, "Nope. It's Hugh."
In Jackman's defense, the actor sings, cries, ages, goes from poor man to rich one, loses all, regains some, and then dies. Cooper lost to Jackman at the Golden Globes, but his is a comic performance of such heart in "Silver Linings Playbook" that he could squeak past for a major upset.
The deciding moment could come as soon as Sunday night, when DDL, Jackman, and Cooper share the stage as presenters at the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, to be broadcast on TNT and TBS. All three actors are contending for SAG best actor awards -- and are members of ensemble casts in the running, too. If Day-Lewis loses, the race could be very much unlocked.