Javier Bardem for Biutiful
PRO: Continues string of solid performances, building on Before Night Falls and No Country for Old Men.
CON: Movie was ter-i-bul.
Jeff Bridges for True Grit
PRO: Oscar-winning actor in Oscar-winning role, which garnered a statue for John Wayne in 1969.
CON: In the Jeff Bridges vs. Colin Firth battle, which Bridges won last year for Crazy Heart, it's Colin Firth's turn.
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
PRO: Breakout performance gives touch of humanity to aloof Facebook founder who abandons his friends in pursuit of fortune.
CON: Academy voters confused as to why zillionaire media mogul Zuckerberg isn't the hero of the story.
Colin Firth for The King's Speech
PRO: Matinee idol good looks plus playing a guy who triumphs over his disability IN A PERIOD PIECE, why even bother nominating other people?
CON: Disability counts less in a year that has one-eyed and one-armed competition. Plus, confused Academy not sure whether to give award to actor who had trouble with his lines.
James Franco for 127 Hours
PRO: Pro: "Franco-phile" headline too good to resist.
CON: Between co-hosting, writing a novel, working on his next six movies, and getting his next graduate degree, may not have had time to write his acceptance speech.
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
PRO: Three-time nominee -- and with hubby Warren Beattty, Hollywood royalty -- has chance for a lifetime achievement award a la last year's Jeff Bridges win.
CON: A la Bridges, she might star in a better movie next year, and then they're screwed.
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
PRO: Now that she has admitted she's stopped using Botox, forehead acting may put her over the top.
CON: In Hollywood, "rehab" awards are usually reserved for overcoming opiates or Class IV Felony drugs; rehab from cosmetics not enough to qualify.
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
PRO: Hardscrabble, squirrel-skinning female character may appeal to Sarah Palin fans.
CON: Mama Grizzly-like tendencies raise fear of "blood libel" in acceptance speech.
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
PRO: Beauty, brains, talent, vegan, a baby on the way ... she's a poster-child for every category the Academy loves.
CON: More than a little overexposed: is No Strings Attached her Norbit, or will The Kingdom (April) be her Norbit, or will Thor (June) be her Norbit?
Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
PRO: Sublime performance from actress who has put Dawson's Creek behind her and has overcome personal tragedy in becoming an indie-film superstar.
CON: If Academy voters wanted to see a marriage collapse, they'd come home for dinner once in a while.
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