the oscars: best actor

peter finch won in seventy-seven for network, followed by richard dreyfuss for the goodbye girl, jon voight in coming home and dustin hoffman in kramer vs. kramer. i’ve seen two of those.

winners in the eighties: robert de niro in raging bull; henry fonda in on golden pond; ben kingsley in gandhi; robert duvall in tender mercies; f. murray abraham in amadeus (that’s not the dude who played amadeus, by the way, but the dude who killed him); william hurt in kiss of the spider woman; paul newman in the color of money; michael douglas in wall street; dustin hoffman in rain man; and daniel day-lewis in my left foot. i’ve seen three of those.

lead actor roles i favored from that decade: val kilmer in real genius and mel gibson in lethal weapon.

the nineties: daniel day-lewis in my left foot; jeremy irons in reversal of fortune; anthony hopkins in the silence of the lambs; al pacino in scent of a woman; tom hanks in philadelphia and forrest gump; nicolas cage in leaving las vegas; geoffrey rush in shine; jack nicholson in as good as it gets; and roberto benigni in life is beautiful. i’ve seen six of those.

lead actor roles i favored from that decade: johnny depp in edward scissorhands, donnie brasco and fear and loathing in las vegas; christian slater in pump up the volume; rik mayall in drop dead fred; tim robbins in the shawshank redemption (morgan freeman was nominated; robbins should’ve been); nicolas cage in guarding tess; mackenzie astin in iron will; kevin bacon in murder in the first; robin williams in what dreams may come; and edward norton in fight club.

the two thousands. kevin spacey in american beauty; russell crowe in gladiator; denzel washington in training day; adrien brody in the pianist; sean penn in mystic river; jamie foxx in ray; phillip seymour hoffman in capote; forest whitaker in the last king of scotland; daniel day-lewis in there will be blood; and sean penn in milk.

lead actor roles i favored from that decade: elijah wood in the lord of the rings; robert redford in spy game; jim caviezel in the count of monte cristo; ryan gosling in the notebook; jim carey in eternal sunshine of the spotless mind; joaquin phoenix in walk the line; russell crowe in cinderella man; nathan fillion in serenity; and kevin kline in life as a house.

this decade: jeff bridges in crazy heart; colin firth in the king’s speech; jean dujardin in the artist; daniel day-lewis in lincoln; eddie redmayne in the theory of everything; and leonardo dicaprio in the revenant.

lead actor roles i favored from this decade: robert downey jr. in sherlock holmes: a game of shadows; steve carell in crazy, stupid, love; tom hardy in lawless; mark wahlberg in lone survivor; bill murray in st. vincent; ryan reynolds in deadpool; ryan gosling and russell crowe in the nice guys (it’s hard for me to pick between’m, and i feel like they both carried equal weight in that one); chris pine in the finest hours; manish dayal in the hundred foot journey; bradley cooper in burnt; joel edgerton in loving.

which brings us to the nominees:

casey affleck in manchester by the sea
andrew garfield in hacksaw ridge
ryan gosling in la la land
viggo mortensen in captain fantastic
denzel washington in fences

i want andrew garfield to win this one, but it’s gonna be affleck.

the best instances in which the academy got it right: dustin hoffman in rain man; phillip seymour hoffman in capote; and eddie redmayne in the theory of everything.

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