Does Casey Affleck Deserve An Oscar?
Casey Affleck is many people’s favourite to win Best Actor at this year’s Oscar ceremonies. In truth, he only has one real opponent in the form of Denzel Washington. The other actors, Gosling aside, are all in films that were relatively small and the academy is unlikely to give it to anyone other than Washington or Affleck.
Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea“
Denzel Washington – “Fences“
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land“
Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge“
Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic“
Has Casey Paid His Dues?
Affleck is obviously of good stock being the younger brother of multiple Oscar winner and current Batman, Ben Affleck. While in some sense, he’ll always carry the torch of ‘younger brother’, he has been in some impressive films, dating back to roles in films such as ‘To Die For‘ (1995) and ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997). He has been in consistent work since that time, and appeared in ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford‘ where he appeared as Robert Ford, opposite Brad Pitt as Jesse James. These roles were mainly supporting or bit parts, and he has only started playing a leading man in recent years.
Possibly his most impressive role before Manchester by the Sea, was that of Patrick Kenzie in ‘Gone Baby Gone‘, which was written and directed by his brother. It is the story of two detectives investigating the kidnapping of a young girl in the Boston area. In truth, he hasn’t been knocking down the door in recent years, and in that sense it would be a surprise to see him win.
Who Really Deserves It?
Out of the list above, Viggo Mortensen would be my choice, but he is unlikely to win for a relatively low budget release. Also, he’s not American, and this of all years, I think the gong will go to one of their own. In some ways, Denzel is the obvious choice, but having won twice already, the academy could be tempted by a new name. Andrew Garfield is still Spiderman in most people’s eyes and I can’t see anyone with the taint of superhero winning it!
While much has been made of La La Land, it is not one of Gosling’s best performances, and he was more or less a supporting role to Emma Stone who carries the film. His role as an understated jazz piano player that compromises his gift and his own standards in order to achieve success is impressive, it’s just not really Oscar winning.
It would be fair to say that Casey has mainly been a ‘character actor’ before this, with few leading roles. Despite this, he would still remain one of the favourites for the Oscar and the role will no doubt move him into ‘leading man’ category in future. There is also the small matter of the continuing allegations of sexual harassment on set, with two law suits being settled out of court. Will Hollywood be willing to look the other way? Denzel might be the safer pair of hands. It is the only one of the main categories that remains in the balance, but Sunday night could see the younger Affleck brother taking the bows.
Update: Yes, yes, he does….