For the first time in Oscar history, one of the acting categories is filled with nominees who are all previous Oscar winners.
None of the men chosen by the four major critic groups made the cut with the Oscars. Both the Gotham critics and National Society feted Matthew McConaughey ("Magic Mike" and "Bernie"), the LA scribes went with Dwight Henry ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") and the National Board of Review winner was Leonardo DiCaprio ("Django Unchained").
Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln")
Jones leads with odds of 19/10 and is the choice of 17 of our 25 Experts, five of eight Editors, and 33% of Users. Key to this frontrunner status is his win at the SAG Awards; 11 of the 18 SAG champs have repeated at the Oscars, including the last five in a row.
He also contended at the Critics' Choice, Golden Globes and BAFTA for playing Thaddeus Stevens, a radical Republican congressman who wants to abolish slavery.
Jones won this category in 1993 for "The Fugitive" and this is his fourth overall nomination.
Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook")
De Niro is in second place with odds of 3/1 even though he did not won a single major award this season. He is predicted to prevail by five Experts, three Editors, and 25% of Users.
He was nominated at both the Critics' Choice and SAG swards for playing the understanding father of a bipolar man. However, he was snubbed by the Golden Globes and BAFTA.
De Niro is a two-time Oscar champ with wins in both Best Supporting Actor ("The Godfather Part II," 1974) and Best Actor ("Raging Bull," 1980). This marks his seventh career nomination, and the first since "Cape Fear" in 1991.
Christoph Waltz ( "Django Unchained")
Waltz is in third place with odds of 9/2 and the support of three Experts, one Editor, and 19% of Users. He just won this category at BAFTA. Since the British shifted these kudos in 2000 to take place during Oscar voting, seven of the 12 winners have gone on to claim the Oscar. He also won at the Golden Globes, where 10 of the past 12 champs have repeated at the Oscars.
However, Waltz did not contend for either the SAG and Critics' Choice awards for playing Dr. King Schultz, a German inmigrant dentist turned bounty hunter. Since the Critics Choice Awards began in 2001, every Oscar winner for Supporting Actor has contended at both those kudos and SAG.
Waltz won his only previous Oscar bid -- "Inglourious Basterds," 2009 -- which came in this category.
Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master")
Hoffman is ranked in fourth place at 11/2 with 19% of User votes but no first place votes from either our Experts or Editors. He prevailed at the Critic's Choice and seven of the dozen winners of that award have gone on to Oscar victories.
He was nominated by the Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTA for playing Lancaster Dodd, the leader of a new philosophical movement. Of the five performances, his is the only one not in a Best Picture contender.
Hoffman won Best Actor ("Capote," 2005); this marks his fourth overall nomination.
He reaped bids from BAFTA, Golden Globes, SAG, and Critics' Choice for playing Lester Siegel, a Hollywood producer who sets up a fictional movie to help the CIA. However, he lost all those races.
Arkin won this category in 2006 for "Little Miss Sunshine" and he has a total of four career nominations.