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2016 Awards Season: Oscar Highlight: Best Leading Actor

February 16th, 2017

Manchester by the Sea

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Leading Actor, which is a three-way race this year. This makes it one of the most competitive categories we will be talking about.

(Note: All previous awards listed are only for acting and not other categories. However, they are for supporting and lead acting. Previous awards and nominations are not for TV roles, on the other hand. )

Best Supporting Actor

Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAGs, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Independent-Spirit-Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and BAFTA (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, One Golden Globe, One BAFTA, One SAG
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Casey Affleck is arguably the favorite here being the only nominee to win two previous major awards. On the other hand, Manchester by the Sea hasn’t been able to convert many of its nominations into awards and I don’t think Casey Affleck is the overwhelming favorite with two other nominees with a real shot at the Oscar.

Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge
Tomatometer Score: 86% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: SAG, Golden Globe, and BAFTA
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One BAFTA and One Golden Globe
Actor's Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Andrew Garfield has gone zero for three during awards season and there’s no past Oscar snub that the voters will be trying to correct. His chances of winning are nearly zero.

Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe, BAFTA, and SAG
Movie's Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, Four Golden Globes, Three SAGs, and Three Independent Spirit Awards
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One Independent Spirit Award
Notes: The first time I saw Ryan Gosling acting was in a Canadian show called Breaker High. It was a show for kids about a group of high school students who went to a boarding school on an ocean liner. ... It’s better than it sounds. La La Land could win in a wave and Ryan Gosling will be carried along if that happens. If not, he’s not exactly a long shot, but he’s also not the favorite.

Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
Tomatometer Score: 83% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: Two SAG, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Independent-Spirit-Award
Movie's Previous Major Wins: None (One Pending)
Actor's Previous Major Nominations: One Oscar, Two Golden Globes, One BAFTA, and Four SAGs
Actor's Previous Major Wins: One SAG
Notes: Some people consider this Oscar nomination a surprise, but Viggo Mortensen has picked up nominations in every other major awards group. That said, if he wins, it could be the biggest surprise of the night.

Denzel Washington for Fences
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Movie's Previous Major Nominations: SAG and Golden Globe
Movie's Previous Major Wins: SAG
Actress's Previous Major Nominations: Six Oscars, Seven Golden Globes, and Four SAGs
Actress's Previous Major Wins: Two Oscars and Two Golden Globes
Notes: Denzel Washington’s win at the SAGs means he has at least a better than average chance of winning the Oscar. However, since he has two previous wins, I don’t think he’s the favorite. It could be a really close race.

Conclusion: It is a three-way race between Casey Affleck, Denzel Washington, and Ryan Gosling, in that order. I’m cheering for Ryan Gosling, and not just because he’s Canadian, but I think Casey Affleck is the favorite.


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Filed under: Awards Season, Captain Fantastic, Hacksaw Ridge, Manchester by the Sea, La La Land, Fences, Denzel Washington, Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen