When it comes to the Best Actor race, no one is stammering about who's going to win.
All signs point to a decisive victory for Colin Firth, who delivered a masterful turn as a stuttering king-in-the-making in Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech," on Sunday night (February 27) at the 2011 Oscars. As a veritable king himself lording over awards season, Firth's virtual sweep is likely to end this Sunday with an exclamation mark, not a stutter.
That's not to say there aren't other deserving candidates in the Best Actor category — candidates that could pull an upset and overcome the seemingly insurmountable Firth, in fact. After the jump, read our analysis and weigh in yourself by voting on YOUR pick for Best Actor!
The field of candidates in the Best Actor category is a daunting one, to say the least. Jeff Bridges returns for another shot at the title following last year's victory for "Crazy Heart." A win for Bridges isn't just two wins in a row, but an impressive new layer for the character of Rooster Cogburn, as John Wayne won an Oscar in 1969 for the same role.
Bridges isn't the only returning Oscar champ, as Javier Bardem is hoping to upgrade the Best Supporting statue he earned in 2008 for "No Country For Old Men" with his latest turn in "Biutiful." The film itself received mixed critical reactions, but there's no denying the sheer emotional force that Bardem brings to the table time and time again.
There's also James Franco to consider. Even though the Oscar host has already ruled himself out of the running — he thinks its Firth's for the taking — I don't think he should be so hard on himself. His "127 Hours" performance was grueling, not just for viewers, but for Franco himself, who spent weeks and weeks in virtual isolation as pinned mountain climber Aron Ralston.
And what about Jesse Eisenberg? As the polarizing Mark Zuckerberg, Eisenberg served as one of the three central pillars that made "The Social Network" such a rousing success. David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin are likely to receive honors for their work on the so-called Facebook film, so why shouldn't Eisenberg?
Because of Firth, that's why.
It's not that Eisenberg (or the other candidates for that matter) doesn't deserve the Oscar. It's that Firth deserves it more. His turn as the outwardly weak and inwardly steeled King George VI is the strongest performance of Firth's career, and on Sunday night, he'll prove that it’s the strongest of the year. To his credit, Franco got it right: this is Firth's Oscar to lose.
Who do YOU think will win Best Actor on Sunday night? Vote in the poll above, and explain your picks in the comments section and on Twitter!
Make sure to tune into MTV.com on Sunday night at 6PM EST for our live-stream red carpet Oscar coverage!