The run for Best Actor at the Oscars 2017 is heating up. What was once being touted as an easy landslide win for Casey Affleck has now turned into race between him and Denzel Washington. The competition has pundits everywhere weighing the odds for Hollywood’s top prize in individual onscreen performance.
Affleck’s portrayal of Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea has been called “superb” (Rolling Stone), “brilliant” (New York Post) and various other superlatives by reviews left and right. He plays the role of a man who is named the guardian of his nephew, after his brother passes away. He then considers moving into the Massachusetts town of Manchester-by-the-Sea to take care of him.
Washington, on the other hand, is being lauded for his performance as Troy Maxson in Fences. That film tells the story of garbage truck driver, and his deteriorating relationship with his wife and kids. The Chicago Tribune praised the leads’ performances, saying, “It’s a privilege to watch Washington and (co-star Viola) Davis lay it all on the line”.
So, which actor is in the lead right now for the Oscars 2017 top plum? As a means of quantifying their chances, FiveThirtyEight takes note of the major pre-Oscar Awards which an actor wins or is nominated for.
Affleck started off the Awards season by nabbing the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Drama, the Critics’ Choice Award, and National Board of Review Award.
But Washington quickly hit back by stealing the Screen Actors’ Guild Award – the biggest indicator of an Oscar prize winner. 18 of the last 22 SAG winners went on to win the Oscar.
By all means, this doesn’t push Casey Affleck out of the running. In fact, he remains the favorite in the race. It’s simply no longer as clear-cut as it might have been before. The gambling site Paddy Power offers him a 64% chance of scoring the win. This keeps things interesting as the Academy Awards at the end of the month approach.
Affleck and Washington face some stiff competition from the Oscars 2017’s three other nominees. Andrew Garfield is nominated for his portrayal of combat medic Desmond T. Doss in Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge. Viggo Mortensen’s role as Ben Cash, a father who teaches his kids how to live in the wilderness in the comedy-drama Captain Fanastic, also earns him a nomination.
Perhaps, the most likely dark horse to leapfrog both Affleck and Washington, however, is Ryan Gosling. His portrayal of pianist Sebastian Wilder in the musical La La Land won him the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Comedy or Musical.
Any bets of your own yet for the Oscars 2017? The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26.