The nominees for Best Lead Actor are Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up In the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).
Clooney and Freeman are previous winners (both for Supporting Actor), Firth and Renner are first-timers, and Bridges has had four previous nominations. Renner does a good slow burn and Clooney and Firth give very subtle performances. Besides resembling Mandella, Morgan Freeman proves his worth by expertly taking on the voice and mannerisms of the South African president, but If the SAG and Golden Globes are any indication, it looks like Jeff Bridges is the front-runner for the Oscar. His work has been long-admired by his fellow actors, but with such a quirky and varied resume, he really hasn't had any serious Oscar consideration before. Now, in Crazy Heart, he has a serious role to show off his acting (and singing) skills and just like Sandra Bullock in this years Best Actress race, I think voters will jump at the opportunity to finally give him the prize.