Nominees: Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War), Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).
Who Should Win: Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men)
Bardem is the clear frontrunner in this category and for good reason. Much of the power of No Country for Old Men lies on his shoulders, and though his performance is the showiest of his other male counterparts (Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin), he exudes a raw power of terror to his Chigurh. Absolutely astounding.
The WTF? Nominee: Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild)
Yeah, okay, he's old. Yeah, okay, the Academy loves giving prizes to old people. But wasn't there someone more qualified than Holbrook? Catherine Keener was the only standout performance in Into the Wild, and her chemistry with Emile Hirsch was far more impressive than Holbrook's. Holbrook isn't another causality of my disdain for the film; his performance wouldn't have been astounding if he were actually in a good film.