"I would say that we still have Daniel Day-Lewis as No. 1," Thelma Adams told Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil in their second joint podcast. Ever the gentleman, O'Neil agreed about the "Lincoln" star's front-runner status, but couldn't quite back Adams's contention that John Hawkes is "pretty much a sure thing for 'The Sessions.'" Too small?
Also tossing their pointed elbows in the crowded competition are Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master"), Denzel Washington ("Flight"), Anthony Hopkins ("Hitchcock"), Hugh Jackman ("Les Misérables"), and Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained"). And then there's Bradley Cooper, who may ride the "Silver Linings Playbook" popularity contest all the way into the winner's circle.
Meanwhile, the final five depend on the two yet-to-be-screened movies: "Django" and "Les Misérables." "You can pretty safely say that Waltz is going to knock it out of the park," Adams asserted, adding: "The huge open question is Jackman."
Another open question is whether Phoenix has hit the auto-combust button. "Early this derby season Phoenix looked like the frontrunner," wrote O'Neil. "Then, however, he tripped himself up by publicly denouncing Oscar as 'total, utter bull**** … and the stupidest thing in the whole world.'" And then, according to O'Neil, Phoenix changed his tune again: "Now he's making a fool of himself groveling, saying I really didn't mean all those terrible things that I said about the Oscars." Phoenix is not exactly "The Master" of his own mouth, and that could hurt his chances in a truly competitive race.
Check out the feisty and informed insider chat between Adams and O'Neil, who have been predicting Oscar winners together since the dawn of Goldderby.com in 1999: