We started talking about Oscar odds yesterday during the liveblog, and I made the assertion that Gary Oldman would win Best Actor for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Let’s break down how I got there.

1) No one is a lock this year

By this time last year, it was clearly “Colin Firth’s year”. Everything was going his way and there wasn’t a chance he was getting derailed. This year belongs to no one, so the field is much more open. Tinker Tailor hasn’t even hit theaters yet so their publicity is largely focused on branding and raising public awareness. I expect they’ll follow the same late-December program that True Grit did last year, so look for Oldman’s name to ascend the lists by the end of the month.

2) The Clooney vs. Pitt problem

Right now, George Clooney holds the best odds for The Descendants, but Brad Pitt is pressing with Moneyball. My five nominees are Clooney, Pitt, Oldman, The Fassbender (Shame) and Jean Dujardin (The Artist). The Fassbender and Dujardin are both young and in movies no one in Nebraska will see—they won’t do anything for the ratings. And Clooney and Pitt both have the same circle of friends and allies. Like Lainey said yesterday, who does Steven Soderbergh choose? I’m not sure he chooses either of them. I think a lot of voters will avoid choosing between the two most popular guys in school by voting for a third party, and the ones who are willing to take sides will be split down the middle between them. They’ll cancel each other out. Which leaves it open for Oldman.

3) A lack of “big” performances

Tropic Thunder’s brilliant “never go full retard” joke had a lot of truth in it. The Academy loves to award big, grandiose performances. However, this year there is no “big” performance. Pitt and Clooney give very Everyman performances and The Fassbender is being lauded for his contained performance as a sex addict. The closest thing to a big performance this year is Dujardin in The Artist, but really, he’s more buoyant than big. Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor is not big, either, but Oldman is an actor who’s made a career out of larger than life characters, and in this movie he’s playing against type in what he deemed a “sitting down role”. Just for going against the grain and doing something he doesn’t usually do, Oldman gets the edge.

So there you have it. Three steps to Gary Oldman winning his first Oscar.

(Lainey:  Sarah’s laid down her prediction, boldly! It’s only December 1! I’m still not convinced about Oldman. He’s coming in at best 3rd right now across the board on all the charts. But the Clooney vs Pitt factor is certainly intriguing. Had a vision on the plane last night that Brad actually won, and what he would say. With Angelina in the front row and Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux sitting two rows back. Oldman for your heart but Pitt for Good Gossip?)

Attached - Gary Oldman at the New York premiere of Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy last night in New York.