The Ninth Day of Oscar 2017: The Best of Leading Actors
Iconic leading men have transformed from the suave gentlemen of the Hollywood studio era to an eclectic mix of personalities able to capture a diverse range of emotion and complexity. This year’s nominees contain only one traditional heartthrob (hello, Mr. Gosling) while being filled with flawed figures. We like this trend, but did we agree with the Academy’s choices? Find out by scrolling through the videos clips below from our Oscar picks and favorite leading male performances from the past year!
Oscar Nominee - Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Garfield captures a naive and idealistic hero in Hacksaw Ridge, showing impressive nuance and range in facing trials and uncertainty. Undoubtedly, he adds incalculable depth to this at-times stilted script.
Oscar Nominee - Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Nice to see a nomination for Mortensen here considering this was a small, little-seen indie darling - his well-rounded work is very much worthy of recognition.
Oscar Nominee - Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Dancing, singing, and playing piano as a jaded, but romantic starving artist, Gosling is undeniably charming, if a bit too understated, in La La Land.
Oscar Dark Horse - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
After raking in every acting award throughout the year, SAG and Golden Globe losses mean Affleck is suddenly, shockingly no longer the favorite here.
Oscar Front Runner - Denzel Washington, Fences
Denzel's fiery performance and good will from his Hollywood peers will be just enough to upset here. While his performance is striking, his upset will also be a bit of a letdown considering Affleck's performance for the ages.
Chelsea's #5 - Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
If you know me, you know I have to do it. But he's actually really great in this. He plays two different roles--a grieving and angry husband and father, and a young naive man in love.
David's #5 - Denzel Washington, Fences
Washington remounts his stage role here, capturing a bold pride and deep-seated, but unplaceable resentment that spills over in a fury of words and rash decisions. He captures a man who is controlled by emotion, but exhaustingly looks to justify and explain every movement.
Chelsea's #4 - Adam Driver, Paterson
Driver is kind of quiet and captivating in this lovely little role. Most impressive is his work in the final 15 or so minutes of the film--when his character is finally pulled out of his routine and has to react. It's really small and simple, but engrossing.
David's #4 - Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann
Even while embodying his eponymous alter-ego, Simonischeck never fails to communicate a deep love and care for his daughter, walking a very fine line between broad comedy and deeply felt emotion. This could at once be the most nuanced and hilarious performance of the year, something I couldn't say of any other performance in recent memory.
Chelsea's #3 - Joel Edgerton, Loving
Also a fairly quiet role, Edgerton plays Richard Loving, one half of the couple that ultimately beat racist anti-interracial marriage laws throughout the United States. Although the cause was won through a legal challenge, Edgerton and his counterpart Ruth Negga breathe life and real, honest love into the central couple. It feels believable and real without being overdone in the least. Impressive.
David's #3 - Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Playing a countercultural dreamer with abounding love for his family, Mortensen allows his character to move slowly and believably from a place of prideful self-determination to a humble recognition of his own shortcomings and the need for others, all while never sacrificing his warm, loving disposition. His portrayal serves as a perfect counterpart to the never-simplistic social commentary of the film.
Chelsea's #2 - Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann
Empathy is so present in Simonischek's performance as a loving father trying his best to throw his daughter out of a dangerous workaholic rut. Full of pathos and a willingness to embarrass--both himself and those around him--this is a balls-to-the-wall, over-the-top hilarious character with a palpable beating heart.
David's #2 - Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Farrell finds absurd comedy in the midst of sadness by speaking with deliberate, off-beat rhythms. It is a daring, self-effacing, and unique performance that instills a sense of yearning that subsequently leads to uncertainty and unfamiliarity in newfound hopes.
Chelsea's #1 - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Simply put, it's one of the best leading performances in years. Regardless of Affleck's problematic past, he's brilliant in this, allowing the audience to feel true, horrific grief through this closed-in, quiet role of a man who simply cannot find his footing in the world anymore. Stunning, tragic, beautiful work.
David's #1 - Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
This role feels so lived in, so natural that it cultivates great empathy while never resorting to simple pleading. Affleck thrives in quiet moments that manage to say more than words could, processing the words of others in subtle reactions and belabored tones. Utterly devastating.
Check in tomorrow as we turn our attention to leading actresses!