From a 10.24 Sasha Stone Best Actor analysis — “On Heroes, Failed Heroes, Anti-Heroes“:

“This year, at least right now, it looks like we’re putting a failed hero (A Star Is Born‘s Bradley Cooper) up against a straight-up hero (Green Book‘s Viggo Mortensen) and an anti-hero (Vice‘s Dick Cheney).

“All three are beloved in town. Cooper appears to have many more friends than I’d realized until A Star is Born launched. He definitely has a cadre of supporters, which means he’s a nice guy to work with on set. People like him and are advocating for him. Viggo Mortensen is a legend in terms of his genuine kindness. And of course, Christian Bale is respected and well liked as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

“It’s a tough call. While it seems like Cooper has this walking in the door, one has to assess A Star is Born’s future overall. If it’s likely to win Best Picture, he’s not likely to win Best Actor. If it isn’t going to win Best Picture, he might win Best Actor. He could do what Laurence Olivier did, of course, and win both. It’s certainly possible.”

HE opinion: People don’t vote for the performance as much as the performance plus the character. You could argue that they mainly vote for the character, period.

Brilliant as Bale might be as Dick Cheney, nobody’s gonna vote for a Republican monster with an even worse variation living in the White House as we speak. So it’s probably between Cooper and Mortensen.

On the basis of character alone, would you rather vote for a somewhat crude if personable Sopranos-styled racist chauffeur who looks inside and grows out of that shit during a musical tour of 1962 rural America with a brilliant black pianist?

Or for a bearded, gravelly-voiced superstar alcoholic who falls in love with a gifted singer, gets drunker and drunker, pees on himself at an awards show (“Urine Trouble, Mister!”) and decides to bring things to a close in a garage?

I really liked Cooper’s performance in A Star Is Born, just as I admired his direction of the film as well as his singing voice and his pro-level guitar playing. Thumbs up, good job, no issues.

But I love Viggo’s goombah in Green Book. Remember when people said they liked Hillary but they loved Obama during the ’08 primaries? Same difference.