It wasn't as slim a year for Best Actor candidates as many pundits would have you believe. There were some sterling performances out there beyond Casey Affleck's slam dunk Oscar nod, if you knew were to look. Here are my five:
CASEY AFFLECK in Manchester by the Sea
Affleck's lived-in embodiment of grief left to fester over time is largely responsible for this film being as fascinating as it is. Like an oil portrait given breath, he reveals new layers of context and understanding of this character with every viewing.
Viggo is the captain now. When the script threatens to steer him too far into overcooked quirk, he guides it back with grounded emotion; A thoughtful depiction of the internal clash between one's youthful ideologies and the encroaching realities of parenthood.
We take Colin Farrell's comic gifts for granted. They inhabit every facet of this masterclass in deadpan, from his noninflected delivery to his sad puppy dog eyebrows to his gait; All hilariously meek, and suggesting hidden layers of depression beneath the humour.
In spirit, you have to consider this a shared nomination with Alex R. Hibbert and Asthon Sanders, but if forced to choose, I'll single out Rhodes. His third of the film – essentially a series of conversations in which he rarely speaks – is a lesson in “acting is reacting”.
A powerhouse potboiler of lifelong regret and resentment, manifested as masculine braggadocio masking a hurt soul. Explores interesting dynamics with every scene partner. Bonus points for his sturdy, unobtrusive self-direction.
Dev Patel in Lion
Joel Edgerton in Loving
Ryan Gosling in La La LandHugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins
Tom Hanks in Sully