It may be early stages in the race for an Oscar, but it seems that film critics and journalists are already declaring an early favourite in the race for an Academy Award.
The man in question is Joaquin Phoenix, tipped for his role alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman in Paul Thomas Anderson's 'The Master'.
Although currently second in the odds behind Daniel Day-Lewis, who is taking on a role that is blatant Oscar bait as US President Abraham Lincoln, Phoenix has closed in quickly on Day-Lewis after the film festival buzz generated by 'The Master'.
The film itself is heavily tipped to be a Best Picture winner, although it is probably a more difficult task for 'The Master' than winning the actor's gong, as The Academy's often elderly membership are wont to snub director Paul Thomas Anderson's uncompromising film making style, as they did with his 2007 movie 'There Will Be Blood'.
Could 'The Master' Make Joaquin Phoenix A Cult Pick For The Oscars?
Joaquin Phoenix, Oscar winner? (Photo: Andrea Raffin/WENN)
Yet it seems that even those who have doubts about the movie as a whole have hailed Phoenix's performance.
Fox News was in no doubt over the 'Walk The Line' actor's credentials, saying: "Phoenix leaves little doubt that he is indeed the master performer of this film, heck of the year. He portrays a humanity that has been battered and abused and taken advantage of one too many times. He’s a fuse that’s entirely exciting to see lit. Phoenix has Oscar written all over him."
Liz Smith of Telegram.com has written that Phoenix may get a "long overdue" Oscar for his role. Phoenix was passed over for an Oscar for his role in 'Walk The Line', even as co-star Reese Witherspoon scooped the top prize.
In the betting for Best Actor Phoenix is currently 11/8 with UK bookmaker Stan James, with Day-Lewis marginally shorter at 5/4. Other top contenders are Bill Murray for 'Hyde Park On Hudson' and Denzel Washington for 'Flight'.
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