A President, A Stripper And A CIA Agent: Who Will Win Best Male Performance?

Daniel Day-Lewis, Channing Tatum and Ben Affleck are among the men vying for a Golden Popcorn at the Movie Awards.

A CIA agent, a bi-polar divorc√©, a stripper, a president and a freed slave walk into the Sony Picture Studios and, well, this isn’t so much a joke as it is a rundown of the characters portrayed by the nominees for Best Male Performance at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards, airing live on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

It’s a field that includes three Oscar winners (Ben Affleck, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jamie Foxx), an Oscar nominee (Bradley Cooper) and a man with abs of steel (Channing Tatum). Who will take top honors? Let’s take a closer look at the competition.

Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Ben Affleck pulls double duty as director and star of the gripping drama “Argo” (inspired by real-life events that took place during the Iranian Hostage Crisis). As CIA agent Tony Mendez, Affleck hatches and carries out a plan to smuggle six stranded American embassy workers out of the country by posing as a production crew scouting for a sci-fi film. And it’s a scheme that’s just crazy enough to work, thanks to Affleck’s steadfast Mendez.

Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
We’ve seen him suffer more than one hangover in Las Vegas, but it was his turn as the damaged Pat in “Silver Linings Playbook” that truly made Bradley Cooper a star — and a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. Opposite Best Female Performance nominee Jennifer Lawrence, Cooper shines as a man contending with bi-polar disorder, who just wants to get his wife back. (And who knew he had those dance moves?)

Channing Tatum, “Magic Mike”
Perhaps Channing Tatum’s turn as a stripper with a heart of gold rang so true because it was based loosely on his own experience as an exotic dancer. Whatever the case, Tatum mesmerized as dreamer Mike — and it was only partly because of the pecs.

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
“Method” doesn’t even begin to describe the transformation Daniel Day-Lewis underwent to portray our 16th president in Steven Spielberg’s biopic. (Various reports indicate Day-Lewis spent a year preparing for the role.) We defy you to watch more than a minute of “Lincoln” without feeling like you’re spying through an old-timey White House peep hole.

Jamie Foxx, “Django Unchained”
Jamie Foxx is already taking home one statuette as this year’s Generation Award winner, but can his role as a rough-and-tumble man on a mission in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” earn him another Golden Popcorn? If lady love Broomhilda has anything to say about her strapping savior, the answer is most definitely yes.