Here's the male counterpart of my first analysis.
Who Will Win: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
It's no secret: Ledger has the Oscar wrapped up, and it will be the second win by an actor who passed away before he could get the win. Ledger is scary good, I admit, and he brings truth to a role that may have been botched by another actor. This is a very good performance.
Who Should Win: Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
Shannon is perfect choice for the insane, genius mathematician John Givings, who rains on the parade of the Wheelers. He shows that the Wheelers are in fact like everyone else. Shannon, in short, aggressive scenes, out acts both DiCaprio and Winslet and he deserves the Oscar, because he is simply amazing.
The other nominees:
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Seymour Hoffman is not to be looked down upon. He has taken a back seat in a race he maybe could and should win another year. He plays Father Flynn, the accused, who has been believed to have molested a child. It is a fantastic performance. Check this work out.
Josh Brolin, Milk
Brolin, who was better as the 43rd President of the USA, brings some scariness to the role of Dan White, the man who shot Milk. He captures that sore loser essence so perfectly, and he throws all of his anger onto the shoulders of Milk, who will not concede. Brolin deserves praise for this, and his nomination is certainly fitting.
Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder
Not to be outdone, Downey, Jr. caps off his high-flying comeback year with a hilarious turn as a method actor who attempts to play an African-American character with a surgical facelift. There were some nice, funny moments in "Thunder," and Downey supplied almost all of them.