The Best Actor Award at tonight's Oscars is one of the hardest to predict - according to speculators.

Four past winners are this year up against The Pianist newcomer ADRIEN BRODY for the trophy.

However, DANIEL DAY LEWIS seems to be favourite to take the prize for his role in Gangs of New York.

Other contenders are About Schmidt hero Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine for his part in THE QUIET AMERICAN, and Nicholas Cage for ADAPTATION.

Oscar pundit TOM O'NEIL ventures, "The contest is between Day-Lewis and Adrien Brody. Day-Lewis gives the kind of scenery-chewing, grand performance that Oscar voters love, and he is also considered an actor's actor."

My Left Foot actor Daniel carried out extensive research in a butcher's shop for his role as BILL in MARTIN SCORSESE'S film, a butcher by day and a crime lord by night. But unknown quantity Adrien, who has also starred in AFFAIR OF THE NECKLACE, could sweep in and take the award from under Day Lewis's nose.

O'Neil adds, "He is the only newcomer against four past winners in a movie that Oscar voters like a lot and may want to reward in a top category. The myth is that they prefer the veterans and the industry favourites, but in fact they like to crown newcomers."