Nominated for 6 Oscars:
-Best Actor in a Lead Role – Casey Affleck
-Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Lucas Hedges
-Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Michelle Williams
-Best Director – Kenneth Lonergan
-Best Original Screenplay
This was the last film I needed to see to complete all the “Best Actor in a Lead Role” nominees. Up until the SAG Awards, Casey Affleck had all the momentum going into the Oscars but a wrench was thrown into the mix when Denzel Washington ended up being announced as the winner. Which brings us to the 2010 sexual harassment claims…now look I don’t condone that sort of behavior at all but if we’re judging an actor by his work in a movie from 2016 then I really don’t see how an incident from 2010 should factor into it at all. We as Americans LOVE giving people second chances so why not Casey Affleck?
With that being said this is how I would rank the performances of the five nominees…
- Denzel Washington – Fences
- Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
- Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
- Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
- Ryan Gosling – La La Land
While Affleck did a masterful job of portraying Lee Chandler, a quiet, reserved janitor from Quincy and I actually enjoyed this movie more than Fences, I still gotta hand Denzel the Oscar in the end. Also probably losing out is Michelle Williams. Even with her limited screen time the emotions she shows in the film is gut wrenching and so raw. But because of that limited screen time I don’t see her beating out Viola Davis who basically put in the work of a “Best Actress in a Lead Role”. Finally, the relatively new Lucas Hedges puts in a solid performance of a young boy (soon to be man) trying to balance his life, his fathers death and the idea of living with an uncle he barely sees or even knows.
The movie is full of flashbacks throughout to really keep you guessing on why the present circumstances are what they are. While the movie portrays Massachusetts in the cold, gray winter to support Lee’s self-brooding and irritable demeanor it also shows the beauty of the city and the accompanying sea.
The directing and the script were well written and executed. Some people won’t be satisfied with this movie but I think it’s a very realistic showing that you can’t always get the cliche happy ending, sometimes compromises have to be made. We as human beings are imperfect in so many ways and sure Lee Chandler has made mistakes but the biggest demon he has to face day by day is living with himself.
“I can’t beat it.”