9/19 Thoughts: It’s crazy to me to think that, assuming Leonardo DiCaprio has what it takes, four of five spots in this category are spoken for. And many think Brad Pitt is pretty much in. And beyond that, I don’t see a lot of potential for muscling in. So this one feels like it’s getting whittled down really fast. Here’s hoping something blows us away unexpectedly later in the season.

Good bets:
1. George Clooney, “The Descendants”
2. Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”

Other possibilities:
3. Gary Oldman, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”
4. Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
5. Leonardo DiCaprio, “J. Edgar”
6. Ryan Gosling, “The Ides of March”
7. Woody Harrelson, “Rampart”
8. Matt Damon, “We Bought a Zoo”
9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “50/50”
10. Michael Fassbender, “Shame”

Dark horses:
11. Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
12. Demián Bichir, “A Better Life”
13. Tom Hardy, “Warrior”
14. Ryan Gosling, “Drive”
15. Rhys Ifans, “Anonymous”

The rest of the field:
Christian Bale, “The Flowers of War”
Antonio Banderas, “The Skin I Live In”
Asa Butterfield, “Hugo”
Steve Carrell, “Crazy Stupid Love”
James D’Arcy, “W.E.”
Matt Damon, “Contagion”
Johnny Depp, “The Rum Diary”
Joel Edgerton, “Warrior”
Michael Fassbender, “A Dangerous Method”
Ralph Fiennes, “Coriolanus”
Ben Foster, “360”
Paul Giamatti, “Win Win”
Mel Gibson, “The Beaver”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Source Code”
Tom Hanks, “Larry Crowne”
Thomas Horn, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Jeremy Irvine, “War Horse”
Matthew McConaughey, “Killer Joe”
Hunter McCracken, “The Tree of Life”
Ewan McGregor, “Beginners”
Ewan McGregor, “Salmon Fishing on the Yemen”
Peter Mullan, “Tyrannosaur”
Robert Pattinson, “Water for Elephants”
Christopher Plummer, “Barrymore”
Eddie Redmayne, “My Week with Marilyn”
John C. Reilly, “Carnage”
John C. Reilly, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Jim Sturgess, “One Day”
Christoph Waltz, “Carnage”
Anton Yelchin, “Like Crazy”