Daniel Day-Lewis? Ben Affleck? Denzel Washington? Who made the cut?
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Bradley Cooper - 'Silver Linings Playbook'
Pro: The "Hangover" franchise star delivers the best performance of his career as a former teacher trying to get his life back after a stay in a mental institution. Director David O'Russell pulls out a sympathetic and endearing performance out of Cooper that is the antithesis of the traditional cocky jerks he normally portrays. He's also a very strong contender to win the best actor in a comedy or musical statue at the Golden Globes.
Con: Cooper is known more as a "movie star" than an "actor." That means reaction to the movie and his performance is going to have to be very strong for him to crack this year's best actor five. Moreover, he likely won't be the benefactor of many year-end critics honors that can help a newcomer crack the field. Those should go to a number of his competitors instead. This role may be the first step in landing a nomination for his next great performance. He may also be overshadowed by critical praise and honors for his co-star, Jennifer Lawrence.
- Gregory Ellwood