The eventual Best Actor Oscar winner typically feels like a done deal months, sometimes weeks, before the ceremony. This year is no different, with a clear-cut favorite atop the heap of hopeful nominees. The rest of the field, however, feels more wide open than it has been in a few years.
Casey Affleck is the leader in the clubhouse for Best Actor. His understated performance in Manchester By the Sea is an absolute lock to get the nomination and the win. Done and dusted. Beyond Affleck, the closest thing to a lock is Denzel Washington, who’s mountainous turn in Fences deserves recognition. But, as far as acting awards for Fences, there is one woman who will take that home.
After getting close on a few roles in the last couple of years, Joel Edgerton will finally break through with his turn in Loving. That leaves two spots, and the hopefuls list decidedly less expansive than Best Actress. Tom Hanks is always in play when he delivers a performance like the one in Sully, but that movie is pretty well off the radar at this point. Andrew Garfield could easily grab one of the last two slots here, but would it be for Hacksaw Ridge or Silence? Most prognostications lean towards Hacksaw Ridge, and he is terrific in it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that his two great roles could split a vote or two.
That leaves the door open for Viggo Mortensen, and his dominating performance as the progressive patriarch in Captain Fantastic. He deserves recognition for a tough, unique role. Filling out the fifth slot, based mostly on the film’s momentum, is Ryan Gosling for La La Land. He probably doesn’t have much of a shot at winning, but given the dominance of the film he’s in, don’t entirely rule out an upset.
BEST ACTOR PREDICTIONS
Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
Denzel Washington – Fences
Joel Edgerton – Loving
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Up Next: Best Director