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Oscars 2010: Looking at the Best Actor Race

Last updated on: February 16, 2010 17:06 IST

Image: Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Jeremy Renner, Colin Firth
Raja Sen in Mumbai

The Best Actor category this year is largely being considered a two man fight between group frontrunner Jeff Bridges and Hollywood's golden boy George Clooney. But the fact remains that the other nominees include a superlative Colin Firth, a much appreciated Jeremy Renner and the most obvious nomination of the year, Morgan Freeman playing Nelson Mandela.

So it isn't quite over till the fat lady sings. Click on for a look at each of the five.

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Image: The Crazy Heart trailer

Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart sees Bridges playing a washed up alcoholic country singer -- with the irresistible name of Bad Blake -- and it's the year's favourite performance. The Dude's performance in this film is being compared to Mickey Rourke's in The Wrestler -- yet that was another frontrunner that lost out on the Best Actor prize last year.

Bridges has been nominated for four Oscars over the years, dating back to 1972. The Academy will likely reward him for a long and fantastic acting career, instead of just this performance.

George Clooney, Up In The Air

Image: The Up In The Air trailer

In Jason Reitman's remarkably timely recession-drama, Clooney plays corporate downsizer Ryan Bingham, jetting around the country firing people. It's a wonderful performance, admirable for its total lack of showiness, and Clooney's restraint has many admirers.

However, Clooney won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Syriana just a couple of years ago, and the Academy might not want to endorse his King of Hollywood status in the face of a fine veteran like Bridges.

Colin Firth, A Single Man

Image: A Single Man trailer

Designer Tom Ford made his directorial debut with the highly applauded A Single Man, where Firth has an immensely demanding part. The actor plays a college professor who is gay and in the closet, mourning for his dead lover.

It is a performance hailed rather unanimously, and the sort of role that would normally appeal to Academy members. Firth will be optimistically hoping the votes are split between the frontrunners, but that really is quite a long shot.

Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Image: The Invictus trailer

Films by Clint Eastwood are never ignored by the Academy, the gunslinger always up for the big prizes. But this year his latest film has gotten rather sidelined and has no buzz about it at all.

Yet it was impossible that the biopic loving Academy would sideline the highly regarded Freeman in the role of Nelson Mandela.

While an obvious nominee, this is a performance very unlikely to win Freeman his second Oscar.

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Image: The Hurt Locker trailer

Kathryn Bigelow's massively applauded Best Picture contender wouldn't be anywhere without Renner's rock solid performance as an in-control bomb squad sergeant. It's a very well handled acting job, one that works even more beautifully because Renner is a largely unfamiliar face.

Chances of the nomination fetching the hitherto undiscovered actor a trophy are very slim indeed but the nomination does help The Hurt Locker's chances in the Best Picture fight as opposed to Avatar, the latter not having any acting nominations at all.