1. Michael Fassbender-Shame- This year Fassbender is having his breakout year and after winning Best Actor at the Venice film Festival and the film being picked up by Fox Searchlight, it seems that his chances of getting the best actor nomination improve. However will the conservative voters go for a film that is destined for an NC-17 rating.
2. Brad Pitt-Moneyball-Pitt has two films this year in which he is phenomenal. However it is Moneyball which he carries and which shows his versatility as an actor. In addition the film was loved and is being hailed as the best picture of the year.
3. George Clooney-The Descendants- The film has premiered in numerous festivals and has been loved. Clooney's performance has been hailed as the best of his carrier and Payne is a favorite of the Academy voters. He seems like a lock at this point although things may change.
4. Leonardo Dicaprio-J. Edgar-Eastwood's films usually land actors nominations and Dicaprio is playing a real life figure helping his chances. In addition many say that this is his year making him a favorite among analysts.
5. Jean DuJardin-The Artist-DuJardin is relatively unknown but he won Best actor at Cannes and with Weinstein backing this film their will be a huge campaign accompanied by this highly acclaimed film. However is the silent performance still in favor with the Academy
Gary Oldman-Tinker Soldier Spy-The film has been hailed for its performances and Oldman has never been nominated.
Ryan Gosling-The Ides of March-He is one of the most talented young actors of our generation and with a great campaign Gosling may finally get his overdue second Oscar nomination.
Michael Shannon-Take Shelter-Shannon is being hailed for his performance, however if the film does not get a wider distribution it may be overlooked by audiences and Oscar voters.