2017 Oscars Preview: The Acting Nominees

2017 Acting Oscars

Acting. Pretty people pretending to be ugly. Talented people pretending to be talentless. The reward for their feats of make-believe are getting all dressed up in wildly expensive clothes in the hopes of obtaining a gold statuette for doing the best make-believe. The winner will stand on stage and make a political statement that half the country despises while the other half applauds. It’s the Oscars, baby. So here’s our rundown of this year’s acting nominees – the good, the bad, and wholly unnecessary.

2017 Acting Oscars

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

NOMINEES: Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)

This year the Best Supporting Actress category offers an interesting array of nominees although one has clearly emerged as the frontrunner. Perhaps the most surprising nomination is Nicole Kidman for her role in Lion, as the adoptive mother of Indian child Saroo. It’s a magical combination of Harvey Weinstein’s behind the scenes magic and name recognition, which is in no means to say that Kidman gives a bad performance in the film; but she doesn’t stand on the same ground as her peers in this particular category.

Despite have relatively little screen time, Michelle Williams delivers a powerhouse performance in her brief turn in Manchester by the Sea. At one time she was the frontrunner for the Oscar gold, but her chances have faded as the field of competition become stronger around her. Octavia Spencer delivered a crowd-pleasing performance in Hidden Figures, one that gets most of the film’s lines that incite applause. The other nominee is Naomie Harris as the crack-addled mother of Chrion in Barry JenkinsMoonlight. In a movie that is full of little moments of great importance and a lead character that is often silent, Naomie Harris gets the big, scenery chewing moments that are haunting and unsettling in their raw emotional power. On any given year, either of these three women would stand a chance to take home a statuette, but this just isn’t their year.

Sometimes studios can play the game and get their potential nominees slotted into categories that are ridiculously advantageous. This is the case with the prohibitive favorite for Best Supporting Actress, Viola Davis in Fences. Davis delivers some of the finest work of her illustrious career in Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s play, but to call her a supporting player is really underselling Davis’ presence in the film. But hey, she’s all but a lock to take home the Oscar despite the fact that this is truly a leading performance. The fact that Davis has so much more screen time than her fellow nominees gives her a strong advantage because she’s able to make more and more of an impression on viewers. However, there’s no need to gripe about the categorization if it results in a long overdue Oscar for Viola Davis.

Who will win: Viola Davis (Fences)

Who should win: Viola Davis (Fences)

2017 Acting Oscars

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

NOMINEES: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)

On the night of the Golden Globes, a rage filled me as Aaron Taylor-Johnson walked away with the award for Best Supporting Actor for his turn in Nocturnal Animals. Taylor-Johnson delivered a solid performance in Nocturnal Animals but his victory must’ve been seen as an upset because it was the first noticeable loss for Mahershala Ali and his breathtaking turn in Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. There’s a toughness and tenderness to Ali’s drug dealer Juan, and he becomes an unlikely father figure for the young Chiron. Ali cuts the tension in times and rouses the audience with a subtlety to his emotional moments in what is undoubtedly the best supporting performance of 2016. Frankly, if Mahershala Ali still isn’t an Oscar winner by Sunday night, the entire awards process is broken beyond repair.

Oddly, the Golden Globe winning performance by Aaron Taylor-Johnson isn’t the one nominated for an Oscar; that distinction goes to Michael Shannon as the fictitious lawman in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. Any given year there are multiple Michael Shannon performance worthy of awards consideration and it’s quite unusual that this particular one was nominated. This year doesn’t seem to be Shannon’s year, but an actor his caliber shouldn’t have to wait much longer for his moment on the stage.

Dev Patel is the dark horse of this year’s nominees for his role as the fully grown Saroo in Lion. While I wasn’t too nuts about the film as a whole, Patel gives a solid performance although much of the performance is simply staring at a laptop. But Patel hits the film’s emotional crescendo and the tears it brings forth might be enough for the actor to pull off a stunning upset.

Of the two remaining nominees, the chances look slim for either Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea or Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water. Hedges delivers a fantastic performance as young Patrick, and the rising star is capable at cutting the heartbreaking drama with a well-timed laugh as well as bringing forth the film’s meditation on grief to the forefront. As for Jeff Bridges, I’m surprised that he got nominated once again for inflecting a heavy Southern accent that is barely understandable. Bridges is a treasure, no doubt, but Ben Foster is much more deserving of a nomination for his work as the delinquent brother in Hell or High Water. Having a name and reputation can make all the difference in the awards hustle.

Who will win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Who should win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

NOMINEES: Isabelle Huppert (Elle), Ruth Negga (Loving), Natalie Portman (Jackie), Emma Stone (La La Land), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins)

Whereas most of the other acting categories seem to be preordained by overwhelming favorites, the Best Actress category is the one that feels the most up for grabs. The Best Actress category is a deep roster, with one exception, of amazing performances that left some deserving actresses (*COUGH* Anette Bening in 20th Century Women *COUGH*) on the outside.

First off all, as for that underserving nomination we have to look no further than Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins. At this point I believe it’s apparent that Meryl Streep could star in a snuff film where she bludgeons small children and puppies, drinking their blood while inflecting some half-assed British accent and still earn an Oscar nomination. She’s one of the greatest actresses of her generation and yet her reputation leads to awards considerations for undeserving performances in bad movies. If Streep takes home her fourth Oscar for her role in Florence Foster Jenkins, I’m gonna flip each and every table in my house.

Completely deserving of the Oscar are the two historical performances nominated, Ruth Negga in Loving and Natalie Portman in Jackie. Negga brings a performance that isn’t showy and overwrought, highlighting a quiet tenderness and dread as she fights to have her marriage legally recognized. It’s simply the kind of performance that should garner more awards consideration but lacks in the over-the-top sensibilities that bring home statuettes. On the other hand, Portman delivers the showiness that wins over Academy voters in Jackie. She has that elitist northeastern vocal inflection and her portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy in the throes of grief always has the actress on the verge of tears.

With La La Land emerging as the awards season darling, it seems that Emma Stone is the frontrunner to win on Sunday. She does get the film’s most emotional scenes as well as her amazing ability to exude charm. She’s certainly not my choice because I feel La La Land is much more about the experience of the song and dance accompanied by the strong camerawork, and is not a film driven by its actors. But, again, that’s just me.

My choice for Best Actress and someone who can possibly pull off the shocking win is Isabelle Huppert for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. The twisted sensibilities of Verhoeven’s film only work because of the stunning performance by Huppert. Where the film tangles with extremely tricky subject matter, it emerges on the other side because of the conviction Huppert brings to the character. What I think separates Isabelle Huppert from the pack is that her performance is inseparable from the finished film. There’s no other actress on the planet that could navigate the problematic material of Elle and turn it into a strong, stunning piece of work that challenges viewers as well as entertain.

Who will win: Emma Stone (La La Land)

Who should win: Isabelle Huppert (Elle)

2017 Acting Oscars

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

NOMINEES: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Ryan Gosling (La La Land), Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic), Denzel Washington (Fences)

This was a stellar year for male lead performances but not all of the best performances got Oscar nominations this year, and some nominees got nominated for the wrong movie. Adam Driver in Paterson and Joel Edgerton in Loving were overlooked for their subtle, nuanced performances. Meanwhile, both Ryan Gosling and Andrew Garfield seemed to earn nominations for their weaker performances this year. Nominated for La La Land, Gosling actually gave the far superior performance in The Nice Guys, one that features a physicality that eclipses his dance moves in Damien Chazelle’s musical. Garfield, on the other hand, was nominated for his turn in Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, the actor donning a ridiculous Southern accent in Mel’s incongruent war film. But Andrew Garfield’s performance in Martin Scorsese’s Silence eclipses his work in Hacksaw Ridge, and the former is the much more fascinating portrait of faith under duress and driven by a more haunting performance. As is common with awards shows, the better work isn’t always the recognized work.

The odd nomination in this year’s batch is Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic. The patriarch of an oddball hippy family, Mortensen brings a strong performance but it does seem to be on the outside looking in compared to the other nominees, not to mention the great performances overlooked.

When it comes to top honors for actors, it looks to be a showdown between Denzel Washington in Fences and Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea, with Affleck maintaining his frontrunner status. Washington delivers a powerhouse performance in Fences, which he also directed, a performance of fury aided by long impassioned speeches. It’s a movie by actors for actors and Washington might very well pull of the upset and leave Casey Affleck sitting in his seat on Sunday night. Affleck, meanwhile, has taken a hit to his reputation with old allegations resurfacing in the heat of the Oscar campaign. Though indefensible, those allegations aren’t on the screen in Manchester by the Sea and Affleck delivers one of the year’s most stunning performances as the shell of a man wrecked by grief and the pain of his past. Will Affleck’s personal issues overshadow his performance on Oscar night? We’ll have to wait and see.

Who will win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Who should win: Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Flaked Returns to Netflix for a Second Season

From Netflix – Flaked S2 launches globally on Netflix on Friday,...

Riverdale Comes to Blu-Ray

From Warner Bros. Home Entertainment – BURBANK, CA (May 22, 2017)...

Russell Crowe and Tom Cruise Lead the ‘Dark Universe’

From Universal Pictures – Universal City, CA, May 22, 2017—Universal Pictures...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Harvest Moon: Light of Hope
Harvest Moon: Light of Hope Coming to Nintendo Switch, Steam, and PlayStation 4

Natsume is bringing Harvest Moon to Nintedo Switch, Steam, and PlayStation 4...

NASCAR Heat 2 Cover Race
704Games Announces NASCAR Heat 2 with NASCAR Heat 2 Cover Race

704Games announces the sequel to last years fast paced NASCAR experience...

Empathy Path of Whispers Review
Empathy Path of Whispers Review

Empathy Path of Whispers Review Empathy Path of Whispers Review: If...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Arcana Reveals New Book for SDCC

This is a sneak peek from Wayne Young’s debut graphic Novel,...

‘Button’ Down for the Conclusion in Flash No. 22

Title: Flash No. 22 Script: Joshua Williams Art: Howard Porter Color:...

Injustice 2 No. 2 Batman gets a Little…Triggered

Title: Injustice 2 #2 Writer: Tom Taylor Penciller: Bruno Redondo Inker:...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
DC Collectibles Reveals New 2018 ‘DC Artist Alley’ Line At Five Points Festival

From DC Collectibles – Designer super hero toys — meet street...

hubplus c review
Convenient, Multi-Capable, and Intutitive – myCharge HubPlus C Review

By far the most convenient and intuitive power bank currently available,...

MIND headset Review
Play Games Using Only the Power of Your Mind – MIND Headset Review

Soap Studio lets you play games with your mind, bringing a...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Epic Fighting 34 Results

Friday, May 12, 2017 – Epic Fighting took place at their...

King of the Cage Heads to Black Bear Casino Resort on June 9 for ‘Fire Starter’

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA. (May 10, 2017) – King of the Cage, the leader...

James ‘Lights Out’ Toney to Face ‘Lightning’ Mike Sheppard in his Final Fight

YPSILANTI, Mich., May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Main Event Professional Boxing,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Wonder Woman
Is That Sexist? – ‘Wonder Woman’ Marketing Maybe/Maybe Not?

There is only one month left until one of DC Comics’...

Adult Continuity Issue Nine – Ten Inch Mutant Ninja Turtles

The porn parody has a long, hard, turgid and difficult to...

DC’s New Aqualad is ‘3-Pages of Gay’

3…2…1…Okay, now that the Social Justice Warriors who have only read...

Event News Event Reviews
ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival Announces First Wave of Panels

ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival Announces First Wave of Panels...

Disney Channel, Disney XD & Disney Junior Announce Events for D23 Expo

From D23 Expo – BURBANK, Calif. (May 17, 2017) – Disney...

South City Comic Con to be held on June 11th

  South City Comic-Con Returns to the South San Francisco on...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...