Denzel Washington - Troy Maxson - Fences
Denzel Washington is hands down one of the best actors out there. While Fences does have some incredible dialogue written it, I don’t think there is anyone who can do spit it out better than Denzel. There is so much energy in his performance and Denzel is despicable and terrifying at the same time but at the same time, you see there’s a complicated human beneath the performance. Also it takes a lot of work to do one monologue perfectly and Denzel is doing multiple monologues for over 2 hours perfectly and at the same time directing a film. It’s incredible how well he pulls this off and all the recognition Denzel has gotten is well deserved.
Casey Affleck - Lee Chandler - Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck has always been a talented actor but it seems in the past few years Hollywood has forgotten about his leading presence. It got to a point where he played a son no one cared about in Interstellar. Thankfully Casey is back on top and its well deserved. Lee Chandler is kind of a difficult role to impress with and its very subtle but Casey manages to do just that. Affleck nails the broken awkward man in Lee and when the twist is revealed about his character, you can't argue that Casey has provided a rea realistic take of a destroyed man. Not to mention he works so well off his supporting cast and is entertaining from beginning to end.
Ryan Gosling - Holland March & Sebastian Wilder The Nice Guys/La La Land
Ryan Gosling established he was going to be on my end of the year list quite early in the year but who knew he would give an equably great performance towards end of the years. In these two movies Gosling showcased a slapstick humoristic side of himself not seen in any of his movies. He plays a lovable goofball so well and his small quirks he did for both characters added some great depth. While Gosling is Nice Guys was incredible in his comedic delivery, physical humor moreso there. In La La Land, he put a lot of work into that role by improving his vocals, his piano skills and dancing. Sebastian might have been a simple character on paper but no one could have played it better than Gosling. Gosling continues his streak of picking great films and putting contiunued hard work.
Jake Gyllenhaal - Tony Hastings/Edward Sheffield - Nocturnal Animals
Jake Gyllenhaal is an actor that never gets any awards love and it’s gotten to a point of an insult now. Jake is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood right now. He’s constantly pushing himself to take challenging roles and Nocturnal Animals is another unique role for him. On an outskirt, the role doesn’t seem complex but the character is going through so many stages of grief and Gyllenhaal does a fine job of portraying that. Not to mention, Gyllenhaal has been playing tough characters for the last couple of years and he does an impeccable job of portraying a weak man who’s frustrated with being weak. The highlight of the performances comes toward the climax where Tony is having a break down and I said to myself at that moment, maybe I should give up acting because he’s just that damn good.
John Goodman - Howard Stambler- 10 Cloverfield Lane
I have to say this is one of the most undercooked performances of the year. John Goodman was absolutely incredible in this role and superbly terrifying. I’ve seen arguments saying it wasn’t that deep of a role but I disagree. Howard is quite a complicated character, he can be loving at parts, he can be creepy and just outright terrifying. He’s a true sociopath and it’s not easy to play those characters and I think Goodman did a great job. And this is for a guy who’s made a living off playing lovable characters and he makes it so easy to hate him in this film without coming off as silly.
Tom Hanks - Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger - Sully
Matthew McConaughey - Kenny Wells - Gold
Don Cheadle - Miles Davis - Miles Ahead
Colin Farrell - David - The Lobster