Credit: Capote: Sony Pictures Classics

Last year’s five nominees for a Best Actor Oscar ”included a record four men who were recognized for playing real people. That tally could be matched again this year,” according to an early Oscar handicapping story by Entertainment Weekly’s Dave Karger and Missy Schwartz, who note that Capote‘s Philip Seymour Hoffman (left) and Walk the Line‘s Joaquin Phoenix are the closest things to locks in the category.

Karger and Schwartz list 16 additional actors who have a fighting chance for a nomination, including Jarhead‘s Jake Gyllenhaal, Breakfast on Pluto‘s Cillian Murphy, and Hustle & Flow‘s Terrence Howard, who are also the subjects of a Movie City News feature about actors on the brink of receiving the kind of breakthrough Oscar love enjoyed last year by multiple nominee Jamie Foxx.

Have you got any early favorites to score a surprise nomination? Wait a sec… hands off the keyboards! Before you weigh in, check out the Independent Spirit Award nominees for Best Male Lead: Jeff Daniels for The Squid and the Whale; Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain; David Strathairn for Good Night, and Good Luck; and the aforementioned duo of Hoffman and Howard.

With that said, let the rampant speculation (and hateration) begin!

addCredit(“Capote: Sony Pictures Classics”)