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Daniel Day-Lewis hot favourite for best actor Oscar

Jennifer Lawrence expected to walk away with best actress gong ahead of Jessica Chastain

  • Daniel Day-Lewis Image Credit: AFP
  • Jennifer LawrenceImage Credit: AP

Two rising Hollywood actresses are seen as front-runners for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, with Jennifer Lawrence expected to steal the show from Jessica Chastain on awards night, a Reuters poll shows.

But when it comes to who will win best actor, it’s looking like a one-horse race, taken by Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Here’s a look at how they stand.


Best actress

In true Hollywood style, there has been some off-screen drama between the actresses before Sunday’s Academy Awards, with Chastain from “Zero Dark Thirty” using Facebook to deny unsubstantiated rumours of fierce rivalry with Lawrence from “Silver Linings Playbook.”

“I find it very sad that the media makes up bogus stories about women fighting in this industry,” wrote Chastain over the weekend.

The two actresses are in a field of five vying for the top female title at the world’s most prestigious movie awards.

The group also includes the youngest and oldest nominees in the award’s 85-year history, with 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis nominated for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and Emmanuelle Riva, 85, up for foreign language drama “Amour.”

The fifth actress in the running is Naomi Watts as the mother in the tsunami movie “The Impossible.”

Riva has won two best actress awards this year — from the BAFTA and the National Society of Film Critics — for playing a retired music teacher struggling to cope with the aftermath of a stroke in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s film.

But a Reuters Ipsos poll of 1,586 Americans found 15 per cent thought Lawrence, 22, should win the Oscar and 15 per cent said she was most likely to win the prize.

Only 11 per cent thought Chastain, 35, should win and 10 per cent said she was most likely to win. Riva was only seen as most likely to win by 4 per cent of voters.

Chastain lost out to Lawrence in the Screen Actors Guild awards last month when “The Hunger Games” star won the Best Actress prize for her role as a young widow in the quirky romance “Silver Linings Playbook.”

But Chastain took home the Golden Globe for her role as a young female CIA agent who tracks down Osama bin Laden in thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Both actresses have been nominated for Oscars previously.

Chastain was in the running for Best Supporting Actress last year for her role in “The Help” while Lawrence was nominated for Best Actress in 2010 for the indie hit “Winter’s Bone.”


Best Actor

If there is one sure bet in this roller coaster movie awards season, it is that Daniel Day-Lewis will take home the Best Actor statuette at the Oscars on Sunday.

Day-Lewis, known for his meticulous preparation, would become the first man to win three Best Actor Oscars, and awards pundits say it’s not hard to see why.

The tall, intellectual actor has swept every prize in the long Hollywood awards calendar for his thoughtful, intense portrayal of US President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln.”

“No-one has emerged to take him on. I don’t think he has lost a single (pre-Oscar) race. We have 25 experts and every single one is betting on Daniel Day-Lewis,” said Tom O’Neil of awards website

Although “Lincoln” started the Oscar race with a leading 12 nominations, its Best Picture front-runner status has dimmed in recent weeks with the ascendance of Iran hostage drama “Argo.”

But Day-Lewis’s star has only risen with Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and British BAFTA trophies, along with a slew of honors from film critics.

A Reuters Ipsos poll of 909 Americans found 21 per cent thought British-born Day-Lewis, 55, should win and 26 per cent said he was most likely to win Best Actor at the Oscars for Lincoln, a role he assumed both off and on set during filming.

He is up against Hugh Jackman, who came second in the Reuters poll for musical “Les Miserables,” Bradley Cooper in the quirky romance “Silver Linings Playbook,” Joaquin Phoenix in cult drama “The Master” and Denzel Washington as an alcoholic pilot in “Flight.”

If Day-Lewis does win, he will be the first man to take home the Best Actor statue three times, having won the award in 1990 for playing severely disabled Irish artist Christy Brown in “My Left Foot” and in 2008 for his role as oil prospector Daniel Plainview in “There Will be Blood.”

But Day-Lewis, who chooses his roles carefully and has only appeared in 10 films in the past 20 years, was not taking a win for granted. It took Spielberg three attempts to persuade him to sign up for the lead role in “Lincoln.”

“Members of the Academy love surprises, so about the worst thing that can happen to you is if you’ve built up an expectation,” the actor told reporters after winning the Screen Actors Guild trophy in Los Angeles last week.

Bookmakers, however, were not expecting any surprises, with Day-Lewis the clear favourite to win the Best Actor award.


Supporting actors

The public was more certain on who would bag the award for Best Supporting Actress.

Anne Hathaway has already won three trophies this year for playing Fantine in the musical “Les Miserables.”

The Reuters poll found 26 per cent of voters said Hathaway was most likely to take home the Best Supporting Actress statuette, while 18 per cent expected Sally Field to win for her role in the US Civil War-era drama “Lincoln.”

Also nominated for their supporting turns are Amy Adams from “The Master,” Helen Hunt from “The Sessions” and Jacki Weaver from “Silver Linings Playbook.”

But the public was less certain on who would bag the award for Best Supporting Actor.

The field of five includes Alan Arkin from Iran hostage drama “Argo,” Robert De Niro as the father in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Philip Seymour Hoffman from “The Master,” Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln,” and Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained.” Interestingly, all of the actors are previous Oscar winners.

The results at awards ceremonies so far this year have been mixed.

Jones won at the Screen Actors Guild, Waltz won the Golden Globe, and Seymour Hoffman was chosen Best Supporting Actor at the Critics Choice Movie Awards.

Almost half of the respondents to the online poll, conducted Friday through Tuesday, were unsure who should win at the Oscars in the supporting actor category.

Some 20 per cent chose Jones, while 14 per cent picked De Niro as the actor most likely to take home the Oscar.

Bookmakers, however, put 66-year-old Jones as the front-runner to win his second Oscar for his role as liberal congressman Thaddeus Stevens in “Lincoln.” He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994 for “The Fugitive.”


The accuracy of the Reuters poll uses a statistical measure called a “credibility interval” and is precise to within 2.8 percentage points.


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