And the Oscar goes to ... ?
We're just days away from Hollywood's biggest night -- the 89th Academy Awards (Feb 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on ABC) -- which means it's crunch time. Time for you to fill out your Oscars ballot and lock in your picks!
This week, Moviefone's editors will be making their picks right along with you, predicting the winners in the show's four biggest categories. Today, we're revealing our picks for Best Actor. And the nominees are...
- Casey Affleck ("Manchester by the Sea")
- Andrew Garfield ("Hacksaw Ridge")
- Ryan Gosling ("La La Land")
- Viggo Mortensen ("Captain Fantastic")
- Denzel Washington ("Fences")
Here, we're sharing who we think will win, as well as who we feel truly deserves to take home the Academy Award.
Who Will Win: Casey Affleck. He's already won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and a Critics' Choice Award for the role, so he's pretty much a lock at this point.
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck. Politics aside, Affleck delivers the best performance of his career, edging out Denzel Washington in the process. (Sorry, Denzel, but you've got your Tony for the same role to keep you warm at night.) His turn as Lee Chandler is nuanced, layered, and downright hypnotic. Who would of thought watching someone look so uncomfortable could be so entertaining?
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck. Nominated for Oscar once before, for "The Assassination of Jesse James," Affleck anchors this family drama ensemble with a very grounded, very minimalist performance of a man who just can't beat the guilt he suffers over a tragedy that makes it hard for him to move forward, but not impossible.
Who Will Win: Denzel Washington. Affleck's very internalized performance is a career-best, and he was also the frontrunner, until recent controversies surrounding his personal life bubbled up in the newscycle and Denzel (his only main competition) won the SAG award for Best Actor. Since actors -- Affleck's peers -- represent a large majority of Academy voters, dollars-to-donuts they will help drive Washington to his third Oscar win. While Affleck has lost some steam going into the home stretch, Washington has gained considerable ground for his robust, nuanced (and sometimes over the top) turn as an ex-baseball prospect-turned-bitter garbage man, husband, and father.
Who Will Win: Denzel Washington. Sure, Denzel Washington is commanding in his adaptation of the August Wilson play (Washington also directed and produced), but there are moments that feel hackneyed and unearned, and at least two times when Washington forgets his line and pauses in the middle of one of his bellicose speeches (thanks to some handy sound effects, it looks like Washington is just getting distracted by a noise off-camera). But it's the kind of sturdy, talky, classical, theatrical performance that the Academy eats up with a fork and spoon. Washington is great but his performance (and the movie) aren't all that. Still, I think that it's likely he'll walk away with a little gold man on Oscar night.
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck. I would have said Ryan Gosling, but his A+ performance last year came in Shane Black's criminally under-appreciated "The Nice Guys" and not the more openly lauded "La La Land." So I'm going to kick my pick over to the most controversial contender, Casey Affleck. Affleck has come under fire for reports of sexual harassment that have resurfaced during this year's Oscar race, and, while those shouldn't be totally ignored, they don't have much baring on his performance as a man who is forced to take care of his brother's teenage sun (after the brother drops dead). It's the kind of delicate, achy, deeply human performance that Affleck is so good at. (It was originally written for Matt Damon, who was also supposed to direct.) It lacks the pomposity that defines many of the other nominees (even Viggo Mortensen, in an otherwise smaller film, manages to be quite large) and that will ultimately prove his downfall. But it doesn't matter. It's an amazing performance by one of the country's most talented actors.
Who Will Win: Usually, this category has a clear winner, but I am very torn between Denzel Washington for "Fences" or Casey Affleck for "Manchester by the Sea." I go back and forth between the two, but it will be one of them, for sure.
Who Should Win: Casey Affleck. Listen, we all know Denzel Washington is one of the greatest actors of our time, but he didn't bring his best performance to "Fences." It was 100% Viola Davis's movie. Affleck gave one of the most nuanced and emotional performances of 2016, and he deserves the gold.
Who Will Win: Casey Affleck. It's hard to find flaws within Affleck's portrayal of a man thrown into the guardianship of his nephew after his older brother passes away. Kenneth Lonergan once again crafted a script in which moments aren't forced and the dialogue feels grounded and real. Affleck channels Lonergan's writing into an understated performance that draws a true sense of empathy from the audience.
Who Should Win: Denzel Washington. The ability the translate emotive power from stage to screen is no easy task, but Washington brings "Fences" patriarch Troy Maxson to life in a way that we've never seen before.