Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil went to last night’s Lincoln screening at the DGA (along with Steve Pond, David Poland, Pete Hammond and a few others), and he’s calling Daniel Day Lewis‘s performance as Abraham Lincoln a”shoo-in” for the Best Actor Oscar. Maybe…but why didn’t anyone else say this after catching Lincoln at the New York Film Festival last Monday night? DDL will probably be nominated, no doubt, but nobody (including Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg) was or is saying “guaranteed winner.”

“Personally, I was leery that Day-Lewis could pull off this role, which requires warmth, wit and subtly from an actor who usually slices through celluloid like Bill the Butcher,” O’Neil writes. “Recently, he ruined Nine by doing his usual big, brooding angst routine instead of laying on Guido’s impish charm. In Lincoln, however, he holds back. He’s still brooding, but only so far as to deliver Abe’s notorious melancholy, then adding the man’s heart, authority and devilish streak. He’s so damned good, it’s creepy — you really believe this is Abe. Honest.”

I’m getting a feeling (and it’s only that) that the DDL train will slow to a halt on Sunday. That’s when things will begin to surge for Denzel Washington‘s performance in Flight following the NY Film Festival press screening (and then the evening showing at Alice Tully Hall). I know someone who’s seen Flight and wrote me that Denzel’s a “lock” for a Best Actor nom, but a lot of sources have been saying this for a while now. Let’s just see what happens.

I’ve been told (and I’m not disputing) that the 62 year-old Academy schlongos are feeling a little distance from Joaquin Phoenix‘s Master performance because the film is too nebulous for them. (Joaquin is “a critics darling but an Academy one,” the explanation goes.) You also have John Hawkes in The Sessions, Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Jean-Louis Trintignant in Amour and Richard Gere in Arbitrage.

I think it’ll boil down in the end to Denzel vs. Daniel Day Lewis vs. Joaquin. Pure intuition, pure conjecture. But just you wait.