Oscar nomination balloting began yesterday, of course. One of the big teeter-totter contests is over position #5 in the Best Actor race — Foxcatcher‘s Steve Carell vs. Nightcrawler‘s Jake Gyllenhaal. A popularity contest between two likable actors, one tall and buff and younger and broad-shouldered, the other a bit older and a bit shorter and narrow-shouldered and often bearded. Both playing sociopaths who are more or less inhuman. I’m a Gyllenhaal supporter because I recognize the monster inside Lou, the video shooter — open, eager, ultra-polite, calculating. He’s a creep you can deal with if you keep your distance. On the other hand Carell‘s John DuPont is somebody you just want to squash like a bug. You can’t help but admire the way Carell suggests all kinds of deep down fucked-up stuff — a mixture of pride, anger, maternal resentment, control-freak mania, homosexual repression and bad genes. I just think it’s fair to ask how arresting or standout-ish his performance would be without the prosthetic nose. For what it’s worth, Gyllenhaal over Carell.