Sometimes the key to an actor’s successful Oscar campaign is to let the performance speak entirely for itself. For Mo’Nique, the only acting frontrunner that was a no-show at AMPAS’s recent nominees luncheon, we have to wait until March 7 to find out if that strategy worked for homegirl. And sometimes the key to an actor’s successful campaign is to complement a good performance with tastefully played PR. Except for a weirdly botched performance at the SAGs, Christoph Waltz has remained a frontrunner in this category ever since Inglourious Basterds stormed the Cannes Film Festival last year in part by selling himself, in one gracious awards speech after another, as nothing less than a gentleman—though one with all the humor and none of the pomposity of the debonair ghoul he memorably plays in Quentin Tarantino’s film. Don’t even entertain an upset: Like Heath Ledger last year, Waltz is practically the only nominee in this category.
Will Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Should Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds