As is often the case, the Academy acting awards feel like they have already been handed out. The phrase “the Oscar is X-actor’s to lose” is standard, and I will likely use the same phrase down the line this year. In 2016, Best Actor was Leo DiCaprio’s to lose, and he won. In 2015, Best Actress was Julianne Moore’s to lose, and she won. Etcetera, etcetera.
In 2017, there is a clear favorite and a few other contenders.
- Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
- Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
- Ryan Gosling – La La Land
- Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
- Denzel Washington – Fences
Will Win: Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck is the shoo-in here. Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, and Denzel Washington seem like obvious nominees as well.
Mortensen is the questionable choice, but him earning Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nods should give him a strong campaign going into January 24. His is a wonderful performance, but prior to the Golden Globe nominations announcement I didn’t see Captain Fantastic having any sort of award season attention.
Other actors vying for a spot in the top five include Joel Edgerton in Loving, a film whose stock has been dropping since its release, and Tom Hanks in Sully. Jake Gyllenhaal’s turn in Nocturnal Animals could also get recognition, but all three of these choices feel unlikely given the other competition.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)