5. Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge - Garfield pulls off a difficult role, not only do the the thick accent required but also the overly pure nature of the role. Garfield though manages to make it work giving such an earnest and honest depiction of an unbelievable individual.
Best Scene: "I hear you"
4. Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea - I might not like the film all that much, but Casey Affleck gives a great performance. Affleck manages to give a powerful portrayal by so effectively realizing a man who has come to terms with his grief by trying to become dead to the world.
Best Scene: The Police station.
3. Ryan Gosling in La La Land - Out of these five I'd say Gosling gave the performance that offered me the most joy. This is the type of performance that looks easy, but it deserves praise. Gosling brings such charm, has some impeccable comedic timing, and finds some of the best chemistry in years with his co-star Emma Stone. While being a great old school romantic leading turn he also does offers much more poignancy to the role than you might expect.
Best Scene: The dinner fight.
2. Denzel Washington in Fences - Washington delivers his career best by giving us a theatrical man in grand way, yet not without nuance. He buttresses his larger work not only by offering subtly within the grandeur, but also by showing where it stems from within his quiet moments as well.
Best Scene: The tale of his father.
1. Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic - Good prediction GM. A job well done by the Academy in this category. They managed for once to choose five great performances. If the Oscars go to any one of these men I will be more than happy with it. My favorite for the time being, it's particularly close between the top two for me, is Viggo Mortensen. Mortensen, as per usual, gives a great performance. He goes further than that delivering such a powerful portrayal of this character that in the wrong hands could have gone very badly. Mortensen makes us understand this man, never going for the cheap shots, instead offering a complex and believable portrait of this man.