By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Edtior
The first man up for the Oscar is Bradley Cooper for his portrayal of America’s deadliest sniper, Chris Kyle, in Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper.” Cooper, who gained weight and muscle to portray the real-life Navy SEAL, plays the role with steely concentration and internal conflict.
Steve Carell portrays the wealthy psychopath John du Pont in “Foxcatcher,” a role for which the comedian completely transformed. He is almost unrecognizable in the role, which he plays with understated force.
The most heartbreaking performance comes from British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrayed Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game.” Turing, the real-life mathematician who helped crack Nazi codes during World War II, was punished for being a homosexual and forced to undergo chemical castration.
Despite these three performances, the real race is between Michael Keaton for “Birdman” and Eddie Redmayne for “The Theory of Everything.” Keaton portrays Riggan Thomson, a fading Hollywood star trying to break back into the scene by directing, writing and starring in a new Broadway show. Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, with real conviction.
All the men are powerful in their own right, but I’m voting for Keaton.