From Casey Affleck to Forest Whitaker, with a double-dose of Christian Bale
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Tom Hanks - "Captain Phillips"
Pros: The final moments of this film leave you with a massive lump in your throat because of the choices Hanks makes. It's a staggering performance just in those choice minutes, but everything leading up to it, all the nuance, makes it the payoff that it is. He also has another performance in another category this year that is certain to add to his season cachet.
Cons: Or will that other performance just give voters a reason to chalk him up elsewhere while deferring to other work in the lead race? Because this year's Best Actor field is hugely competitive and there will be difficult choices made all around.
- Kristopher Tapley