There is a long list of acclaimed actors and actresses who have received multiple nominations, but are still awaiting their first Academy Award.  Many of those names might surprise you:  Glenn Close, Signourney Weaver, Peter O'Toole, Joan Allen, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ed Harris, Albert Finney and Annette Bening just to name a few.  This year, that list is going to get significantly shorter after Jeff Bridges wins Best Actor.

The early contender for this year's honor was George Clooney for his great performance in "Up in the Air."  However, once Fox Searchlight moved the drama "Crazy Heart" into the mix at the last minute, everything changed.  Bridges turned the race upside down as he received the LA Film Critics, Golden Globe, Critic's Choice and, most importantly, SAG Award for Best Actor.  That may have partially been because Clooney, a former Best Supporting Actor winner for "Syriana," hardly campaigned for it out of respect for the longtime industry veteran (and his "Men Who Stare At Goats" co-star).  And if you look over Bridges career, the mantra "it's time" is hard to argue.

Bridges has received four previous nominations:

1972 - Best Supporting Actor - "The Last Picture Show"
Result: Lost to co-star Ben Johnson.

1975 - Best Supporting Actor - "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot"
Resul: Lost to Robert De Niro in "The Godfather, Part II" (can't fault that).

1985 - Best Actor - "Starman"
Result: Lost to F. Murray Abraham in "Amadeus" (in hindsight as good as Abraham was, got robbed).

2001 - Best Supporting Actor - "The Contender"
Result: Lost to Benicio Del Toro in "Traffic" (Del Toro performance was extremely overrated, but hard to argue Bridges should have beaten him).

This year?  Besides Colin Firth's stunning turn in "A Single Man," which won him the BAFTA Award for Best Actor over Bridges, it's hard to argue that the icon's impressive turn as Bad Blake isn't the deserving turn among the field.  Just for kicks though, how about looking over the rest of Bridges' increasingly legendary resume?  It only includes the groundbreaking "Tron," "Jagged Edge," the still fantastic thriller "The Morning After," "Tucker: The Man and the Dream" (how was he not nominated for that?), the classic "The Fabulous Baker Boys," "The Fisher King," "Fearless," "The Mirror Has Two Faces" and, of course, cult favorite "The Big Lebowski."

Cue the standing ovation boys, "it's time."


BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE


The nominees are:



Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Who Will Win:
Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
Who Should Win: Bridges, "Crazy Heart" or Firth, "A Single Man"
Upset Contender: Renner's work in "Locker" could find him as a surprise winner, bu even Adrien Brody had more going for him when he upset in 2003 than Renner does.  It's really Bridges all the way.

All Academy Award predictions will be posted by mid-day Friday.  For previous predictions, click the links below.

Best Original Score, Best Original Song

Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Screenplay

Supporting Actor

Supporting Actress

Best Director

Best Editing


Best Animated Feature, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Documentary Feature

Best Cinematography, Best Make Up, Best Costumes and Best Art Direction

Live Action, Animated and Documentary Shorts
*Upcoming

Actress
*Upcoming

Picture, Sound
Friday, March 5

 

For a list of all the 82nd Academy Award nominees, click here.

For the latest Oscar and Entertainment news, follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.