Descendants, Moneyball, Shame, Drive, The Artist

Fox Searchlight, Sony, The Weinstein Company

We've seen who the SAG voters nominated and who went home with Golden Globes, but the most important nominations have yet to come in.

Of course, we're talking Oscars. And while we wait for the Academy to announce (Tuesday!) who's made their list this year, we've been crafting one of our own. We already told you which chicks we think will duke it out in the Best Actress race (like Meryl Streep and Viola Davis), but now it's time to look at the fellas:

Jean Dujardin, The Artist

We suspect the real race this year is between Jean and George Clooney. And maybe the bigger accomplishment is that fact that the French actor had audiences captivated and buzzing about a performance in which he only ever spoke one line of dialogue.

We're positive you know by now, but The Artist is a (mostly) silent the fact that it's getting so many rave reviews in a time of cell phones and other ADD devices busted out mid-movie says something. The film is all about Jean Dujardin's handsome mug, making us swoon as he moons over Bérénice Bejo's Peppy Miller or swoon even more watching him play BFF to Uggie the dog.

Basically, there was a lot of swooning on our part and a lot of distinguished acting on his part.

George Clooney, The Descendants

He already took home the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards, and we have a feeling this might be Georgey's year to take home his second Oscar—this time, for Best Actor instead of Supporting. The film centers around George playing a formerly disconnected father who's forced to put his daddy skills to the test when his wife goes into a coma.

There're some other dramatic twists and turns that throw more and more (and more) kinks into Clooney's character's life, but we don't want to spoil them for you. Instead, we'll say this: The fact that we forgot we were watching People's one-time Sexiest Man Alive and lifetime bachelor George Clooney and were way invested in his onscreen struggles is huge. Probably even Oscar-award-winning huge.

Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Angelina Jolie's other half has been up for Oscars two times now (for Twelve Monkeys and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) but has yet to go home with his own little gold man. And while we had no idea his baseball flick (which to us sounded like a real snoozer) could score him his third chance, he's doing a pretty good job already: He scored a SAG, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice nom (which is like a 300 percent or something batting average, we think!).

Now the real Q: Do we think Brad will score a home run this time around? First, that was the last ball pun, we promise. Second, doubtful...The Academy peeps haven't always taken Brad seriously, and while he certainly delivered alongside Jonah Hill, he's hardly the most buzzed-about performance of the year.

READ: Week in Pictures: Red Carpet Couples Edition

Michael Fassbender, Shame

Arguably the biggest breakout of the year—appearing in box office blowout comic book stuff like X-Men: First Class to the lovey-dovey classical lit adaptation of Jane Eyre—it was for Shame that Fassbender will likely land an Oscar nom.

Sure, he may be a total noobie to the award show scene, but he took on a very controversial role (about sex addiction) and wasn't afraid to bare it all on the big screen—literally. Not only was his performance great but he dropped trou and showed off his goods for the film.

Ryan Gosling, Drive

Ry deserves an Oscar for his abs alone. But he's also a pretty stellar actor, and his chops were front and center in this moody and shockingly violent flick—problem is, he's looking like the darkest of dark horses, as he's got some love this awards season for other films but has only gotten recognition for Drive by the Critics' Choice.

Don't count him out yet, though. Ry's performance is all about subtlety and saying more with his chiseled jaw than what comes out of his mouth. Not to mention that hot, hot, hot chemistry with Carey Mulligan. And Drive is much more deserving of award hype than The Ides of March, in our opinion. But that split between the two films might be exactly what takes him out of serious contention.

To which we say: A) Again, have you seen those abs?! B) This is a crazyass long shot for Ryan; it'll probably end up going to Leonardo DiCaprio just because he played fat and gay in J.Edgar, the flick that put half the western hemisphere to sleep.

But enough out of us. Who do you think brought their A-game this year?

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