2 hours ago
Academy awards 2017
who will win: casey affleck ('manchester by the sea') or denzel washington ('fences')
who should win: casey affleck
dark horse: ryan gosling ('la la land').
one of the great things about acting is how varied performances can be. some are loud and valiant, others subdued and intimate. some are hilarious and charming, others sad and profound. one thing that doesn’t change is this: the empathy of the actor always defines the role. when this empathy is lacking, the performance flounders; when it’s there, the characters feel alive and real. the best actor race is the closest race of the year, and the two frontrunners are polar opposites.
denzel’s portrayal of his acclaimed theatrical role, like davis’, feels fresh off broadway, his inflated character akin to willy loman. and yet, despite his clear acting skill, i can’t admire his performance as much as i admire casey affleck’s.
denzel’s dramatic performance is permeated with the screaming and over the top moments that the academy love to put on their nominees reel. affleck’s performance is the opposite, filled with quiet moments of intense emotion and pain that are palpable, but never exaggerated or hammed. there’s no biologically uniform response to grief. painting an affecting portrait of the unique forms grief can take, affleck’s performance conveys this point resoundingly. affleck’s performance, at every single moment, feels entirely human. watching manchester by the sea, you feel like you’re watching real people coping with life. lee feels like a real person, dealing with grief, trauma and life in his own way.
amongst all the amazing moments of affleck’s performance, one standout is his disheartened admission to patrick that he “can’t beat it”. it’s possibly the most human moment in a film this year. the line is filled with so much meaning and emotion; his inability to overcome his past, his inability to forgive himself, his inability to bear living in manchester, his inability to find a way to make everyone happy. it’s incredible. i could watch this scene over and over. casey affleck’s performance as lee chandler in manchester by the sea is the best performance of the year.