Steady as he goes is Gotham, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle, Critics Choice, BAFTA and Golden Globes winner Casey Affleck, who carries Sundance debut “Manchester by the Sea” as a capable Boston janitor weighed down by sadness, anger and depression. What happened to make him this way? That is what Lonergan’s precisely crafted movie carefully reveals. While Affleck has delivered many fine performances, often supporting, and was nominated eight years ago for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” he has never taken on such a complex and emotional role.
His main competition comes from SAG winner Denzel Washington, who directs himself in the film version of August Wilson’s Tony-winning play “Fences,” as a Pittsburgh ex-baseball slugger turned garbage man who is angry at the world. He knocks it out of the park. Also helping: Washington is a charismatic movie star who knows how to work the room. And the film is riding high at the post-holiday box office.
Mel Gibson’s bloody World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge” scored with critics and audiences in Venice, who praised Andrew Garfield’s performance as a Pacifist medic trying to save his fellow soldiers on the battlefield; he landed Critics Choice, Golden Globe SAG, and BAFTA nominations. The movie also hit big at the box office. Lending him momentum: six Oscar nominations including Picture and Director for Gibson.
Breaking out at Telluride was Ryan Gosling (“Half Nelson”) as a singing, dancing, piano-playing jazz man in Damien Chazelle’s audacious reinvention of the musical, “La La Land.” He nabbed Critics Choice, SAG and BAFTA mentions and won the Golden Globe.
The Critics Choice, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and BAFTA all nominated “Captain Fantastic” star Viggo Mortensen for his role as a beleaguered single father raising his sprawling brood in the deep forest. He’s an actors’ actor.
1. Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
2. Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
3. Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”)
4. Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
5. Viggo Mortensen (“Captain Fantastic”)