Why he will win: The veteran Oscar winner (“Raging Bull”) delivers a welcome comeback performance, combining the comic timing of his Fokkers patriarch with the fury and energy that marked his earlier roles.
Best scene: When was the last time you saw De Niro shed a tear? In a surprisingly moving moment, De Niro’s sports-obsessed dad briefly stops worrying about the Philadelphia Eagles and confesses to his son that he could have been a better parent.
Critic’s quote: “Here his work unobtrusively charmed my socks off. He’s harmlessly obsessed with the Eagles, gratefully in love with his wife and cluelessly supportive of his son, who he doesn’t realize is an apple who has fallen very close to the tree,” says Robert Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.