Is this the most competitive category of the season?
John Hawkes, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Pro: Nominated last year for his stellar work in "Winter's Bone," Hawkes is arguably better in this acclaimed thriller. In "Martha," Hawkes plays a charismatic cult leader with a brutal side simmering below the surface. He could easily benefit from a number of key critic's awards at year's end.
Con: "Martha" has done O.K. at the art house box office, but not spectacularly. Searchlight will need to skillfully work this one to make the cut. Unfortunately, Hawkes ability to campaign among his peers is stymied because he's on location shooting Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln."