Syracuse Betting Pool: Top Choices for Best Actor

The Oscars are almost here, and the tension is heating up among the Syracuse betting pool, a small, informal group of friends who take a little time each year to make some friendly wagers about the film industry's biggest awards. This year's Best Actor category has some interesting contenders, with some bigger and lesser-known names alike contending for the Academy's highest honor for a male performer. Here, then, are the Syracuse betting pool's top choices for Best Actor.

Brad Pitt

One thing that sets Brad Pitt apart is that he has managed to truly mature as an actor, and the Academy smiles on those who are able to continue acting and doing it well. However, we all know that performance is just one part of determining who will win the Best Actor Award.

It certainly helps that "Moneyball" has also won almost universal acclaim from the critics. This, combined with Pitt's acting, may yet move this aging but still well-tuned star into winning territory.

Gary Oldman

Pitt may have his work cut out for him, as he faces stiff competition from this man, the star of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." Though Oldman has been in numerous films, and has almost always won acclaim for his versatility, he has not been nominated for any Academy Awards. As a result, the Academy may finally reward him for one of his most important starring roles in recent years. If any actor deserves to finally receive recognition with an Academy Award, it is the brilliant and enormously talented Gary Oldman.

George Clooney

Both Oldman and Pitt may be overshadowed by this seemingly unstoppable actor, who most recently appeared in "The Descendants." Perhaps no actor has won as much acclaim for his numerous roles as Clooney, who seems to embody everything about what it means to be an actor, harkening back to such classic greats as Cary Grant.

Furthermore, the film has appeared in numerous "Top 10" lists and has become something of a critics' darling. So, perhaps it will be Clooney who takes home the statue, leaving Pitt and Oldman to try again next year.

It's clearly going to be a tight race this year but, as the above shows, all of those who have been nominated for the award are definitely deserving. These actors continue to hone their talents and set themselves new challenges, showing that you don't have to be young to be a star.

Check out coverage of the 84th Academy Awards on Yahoo! Movies

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