Performance by an actor in a leading role
- Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook"
- Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"
- Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables"
- Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"
- Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Along with Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, the Best Actor contenders are Denzel Washington as an alcoholic airline pilot in Flight, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Tom Hooper's adaptation of Les Miserables, Bradley Cooper playing a man trying to look on the bright side of life in Silver Linings Playbook and Joaquin Phoenix as a Navy veteran tantalized by a cult leader in The Master.