The first category of FANA (Film And Nuance Awards) is here. These may just be the musings of a self-proclaimed blogger-critic who thinks FANA is an important awards season event 😉 Anyhow, stick around if you’re interested to see my nominees for each category and the respective winner. I’ll be posting one everyday (tomorrow will be Best Supporting Actor,the following will be Best Actress…etc) in the lead-up to the Oscars. My best movies of the year list might be released sometime in the middle or at the end, so yeah…let’s get it on! *Best Actor revealed at the end of post*
Nominees for Best Actor
Adam Driver (Paterson)
Andrew Garfield (Silence)
Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Denzel Washington (Fences)
Logan Marshall-Green (The Invitation)
Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Adam Driver proves to me that he’s not just Kylo Ren. Wonderfully subtle and nuanced, he plays the everyman character to perfection. He neither demands our attention nor attracts our sympathies…and in not doing so,he actually does. There are no charades here, Adam Driver is you and me and everyone else. Movie-goers are often more roused by big,bombastic roles. Adam Driver does more with less. His character affirms life and celebrates the seemingly miniscule and insignificant mundanities of life.
Andrew Garfield is frustratingly good in Silence. I mean the movie itself was just uncomfortable to see and kind of gets on my nerves at times. The overall acting gets over the board,accents sound too forced and intonation and diction becomes jarring. But Andrew Garfield gives a performance that rises above its own flaws. There is a pain and desperation at the center of his character’s struggle that speaks to us,religious or not,and transcends mere ‘acting’ to demand our utmost empathy.
Casey Affleck portrays a portrait of persistent melancholies and personal tragedy that is really moving. Manchester by the sea does not progress its characters well which I have a problem with, but its strongest point is how true it is to a serious and often mishandled theme of depression. The main vehicle for such a portrayal is Casey Affleck. And he executes the role pretty well,encroaching upon himself into a desolate and highly empathetic figure of grief.
Denzel Washington is crazy good in Fences. There’s not a hint of holding it back;Denzel’s Troy Maxson cuts a splitting figure of regret and bitterness, caught in the unjust winds of the American Dream. Denzel undertakes a role that’s loud and proud,chatty and antagonistic but through the craziness, he is able to portray a character who puts on fronts because it is the only he that he can fictionalize the difficult truths and deal with his failures. It is poignant and multi-faceted so don’t let some critics tell you that Troy Maxson is just a bad guy,because that’s a serious misinterpretation of a very complex character.
Netflix’s The Invitation is a rather small scale,low budget,one-location type of movie. But it is one of the best psychological thrillers of the year. At the center of this haunted (or is it?) reunion of old friends, Logan Marshall-Green is brilliant in portraying the unreliable ‘narrator’. Because we see some things through his perspective, it is crucial to nail the ambiguous nature of perception. With subtle shifts, Marshall-Green is exhilirating to watch.The anxiety and doubt he gives off is just so convincing.
Viggo Mortenson plays the eccentric dad who raises his kids in a sort of neo-amish way. He teaches them about the world but not in a way that is subject to the boundaries of society, that answers to customs, social norms and systems. Viggo is especially deft in his role and perfectly attuned to the difficulties that arise when a tragedy forces them back into real society. This is a powerful performance most characterized by personal dilemmas and the undying love a parent can have for his children.
WINNER: Viggo Mortensen
A tough tough category with 2 other performances which I especially liked (Denzel Washington and Adam Driver). But ultimately the one that really connected was Viggo’s heart-wrenching and inspiring role in Captain Fantastic.