And the nominees are:
Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook"
Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"
Hugh Jackman in "Les Misérables"
Joaquin Phoenix in "The Master"
Denzel Washington in "Flight"
Listing the other nominees is merely a formality since this category belongs to Daniel Day-Lewis, and has since the day Lincoln was first screened. Lincoln has secured 12 nominations, but this is the only category where it is secured a win. It would be a nice gesture for the other nominated actors to show up and support Mr. Day-Lewis as he gives his acceptance speech. Everyone knows that they don't stand a chance since Day Lewis has swept every award from the BAFTA's to the Golden Globes.
Day-Lewis would only be challenged if he disappeared off the face of the earth, but that's not likely to happen. First of all, he is playing a legendary historical character, which by itself generally garners a win. But he's not playing any ordinary historical figure. He tackled Abraham Lincoln, one of the most beloved and admired men in all of American history and did it perfectly. So he wins. No questions asked, and all he needs to get a spot ready on his mantle to seat his third career Oscar.