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Best Actor Oscar: Denzel Washington vs Casey Affleck

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  • Anonymous
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    #1202011936

    Casey Affleck seemed like the unbeatable frontrunner for Best Actor for “Manchester by the Sea” all the way until Denzel Washington beat him at SAG for his self-directed performance in “Fences.” Shortly after, Washington has been crowned the new unbeatable frontrunner. But before we jump to any conclusions just yet, let’s analyze and see who’s out front.

    As it stands, Casey Affleck has dominated the critics awards and won the Golden Globe and BAFTA for Manchester by the Sea. Washington only won the Central Ohio Film Critics Association and San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards prior to his SAG win. But the SAG win does indeed work in Washington’s favor. Only four SAG winners in the Best Actor category have lost at the Oscars, those four being Benicio del Toro for “Traffic” in 2000 (he won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars), Russell Crowe for “A Beautiful Mind” in 2001, Daniel Day-Lewis for “Gangs of New York” in 2002, and Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003. However, one should note that Crowe’s loss can be attributed to that BAFTA incident in which he attacked one of the show’s producers, as well as his win the previous year for “Gladiator.” Washington had been waiting for his second Oscar for 12 years, having won Best Supporting Actor for “Glory” in 1989 and having come close to winning his second Oscar twice for his roles in “Malcolm X” (1992) and “The Hurricane” (1999). It’s feasible that the Academy simply wanted to give him the Best Actor Oscar he had been patiently waiting on for over a decade. The following year saw Daniel Day-Lewis face off with Jack Nicholson (“About Schmidt”) for the Best Actor trophy. It should be noted that the eventual victor, 29 year old Adrien Brody (“The Pianist”), was the only Best Actor nominee that year who had never won, or even been nominated before. The other two Best Actor nominees, Nicolas Cage (“Adaptation”) and Michael Caine (“The Quiet American”) were both past winners. That race was a classic example of the Academy’s willingness to spread the wealth.

    Since the introduction of SAG in 1994, only five people have won the Best Actor Oscar after failing to win the Golden Globe. Not counting Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful,” 1997), who wasn’t even nominated by the Golden Globes, those five people are Kevin Spacey for “American Beauty” (1999), Crowe for “Gladiator” (2000), Brody for “The Pianist” (2002), and Sean Penn for “Milk” (2008). Since 1994, only three people have won the Oscar without a BAFTA nomination: Jack Nicholson for “As Good as it Gets” (1997), Washington for “Training Day” (2001), and Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013). It’s worth noting that “As Good as it Gets,” “Training Day,” and “Dallas Buyers Club” were all shut out entirely by BAFTA. The last Best Actor Oscar champ to be snubbed by BAFTA despite his film getting recognition from that group was Al Pacino for “Scent of a Woman.” Before that you have to go all the way back to John Wayne for “True Grit” (1969) to find an example of a Best Actor Oscar winner who was snubbed by BAFTA despite their film being recognized by that group. That is very bad news for Washington, who has never been nominated for a BAFTA despite being in films that were nominated for BAFTA, including this year’s “Fences,” who was recognized by BAFTA with a Supporting Actress win for that category’s frontrunner Viola Davis.

    Also consider why Washington won the SAG: he had never won before. It’s as simple as that. The SAG have a history of giving SAG’s to veterans who hadn’t won an SAG before or whose Oscar wins predated the SAG: consider Robert Duvall for “A Civil Action” (1998), Judi Dench for “Chocolat” (2000), Christopher Walken for “Catch Me If You Can” (2002), and Ruby Dee for “American Gangster” (2007).

    Washington happens to be a two-time Oscar winner. The Academy could choose to give a third Oscar, but will they want to do it just four years after they gave Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln,” 2012) his third Oscar. Day-Lewis is one of only six actors to have won more than two Oscars. Is it likely that Oscar voters will feel the urge to give Washington a third Oscar when all four other Best Actor nominees this year would be welcomed to the podium for the first time? The most recent actor to win a Best Actor Oscar at 60 years of age or older is Jeff Bridges for “Crazy Heart” (2009), and that was his first Oscar.

    But that’s not all. Also working against Washington is the rarity of a single film winning both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Viola Davis is all-but-certain to win Best Supporting Actress for Fences, and the last film to win both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress was 1989’s “My Left Foot,” which won Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis and Best Supporting Actress for Brenda Fricker. Before that, the six other instances of a film winning both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress are:

    1949 — Broderick Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge for “All the King’s Men”

    1954 — Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint for “On the Waterfront”

    1958 — David Niven and Wendy Hiller for “Separate Tables”

    1960 — Burt Lancaster and Shirley Jones for “Elmer Gantry”

    1976 — Peter Finch and Beatrice Straight for “Network”

    1979 — Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep for “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

    The Academy will undoubtedly want to reward “Manchester by the Sea somewhere. Some people feel that “La La Land” may pull off an upset in the Original Screenplay category over “Manchester” following its tie with “Manchester” at the Critics Choice and its surprise Golden Globe win. If “La La Land” does win the Original Screenplay Oscar, than the Academy’s only option is to give the Best Actor Oscar to Casey Affleck, and even if “Manchester” does win Original Screenplay, it’s still likely the Academy will choose to give Affleck his first career Oscar.

    Since 1994, only three people in the Best Actor category lost the Oscar after winning both Globe and BAFTA: Crowe for “A Beautiful Mind” (2001), Bill Murray for “Lost in Translation” (2003), and Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler” (2008). Of those three people, only Crowe won the Critics’ Choice. Affleck has the Critics’ Choice. The Critics’ Choice have correctly forecasted the Best Actor victor 14 times since 1994, including Sean Penn twice for “Mystic River” (2003) and “Milk” (2008).

    Finally, only two people have directed themselves to an Oscar: Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet” (1948) and Roberto Benigni for “Life is Beautiful” (1998). Both of them had directing bids. Washington would be the first to direct himself to an Oscar without a corresponding directing nomination.

    For all those reasons listed above, I feel people should reconsider whether Washington is truly the new Best Actor Oscar frontrunner or if this will be the rare instance Oscar and SAG disagree on Best Actor.

    Reply
    steve from last night
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    #1202011998

    Thought:

    Has a Best Actor ever directed himself to an Oscar?  Would Washington be the first actor to do that?  I was wondering if that would work against him.

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    pacinofan
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    #1202012005

    Laurence Olivier directed himself to an Oscar in “Hamlet”. That is the only case that occurs to me.

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    M
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    #1202012007

    Laurence Olivier directed himself to an Oscar in “Hamlet”. That is the only case that occurs to me.

    The same thing happened in 1998.

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    distain
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    #1202012053

    SAG doesn’t give out awards because actors have never won. They aren’t structured that way. You’d have to spend a lot of time on Wikipedia to know which actors have or haven’t won a SAG before. And people haven’t got the time. Ask most SAG voters if Denzel had won a SAG before this year, I imagine most of them would say yes.

    Nicole Kidman has been nominated for SAG 9 times, and has never won. she’s technically one of the most “overdue” actors for a SAG, considering her nomination to loss ratio. Viola Davis competed with Kidman this year, and has won a SAG 4 times previously. Yet they gave Davis a 5th SAG award, instead of thinking, “Nicole Kidman is on 9 nominations and has never won…it’s her turn now”.

    Because most SAG voters don’t know Kidman has never won, and don’t care that Davis already has bunch. It’s not a thing with SAG. Denzel won because most SAG voters and actors in there thought he gave the best performance.

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    Moviebuff22
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    #1202012054

    So whether Washington or Affleck wins, a lot of historical trends will be broken. Fascinating

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    underworld6
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    #1202012059

    The reason denzel  will win is because all the black academy voters will vote for him.

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    underworld6
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    #1202012060

    The reason i think u are wrong is because all the black academy voters will vote for him.

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    Anonymous
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    #1202012095

    Only two actors have directed themselves to an Oscar:  Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet” and Roberto Benigni for “Life is Beautiful,” and no actor has directed himself to an Oscar without a corresponding directing bid. Denzel would be the first to do this.

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    distain
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    #1202012109

    Denzel is the first ever person to direct himself to an individual SAG award, so he’s already done something never before done at a major awards show this season.

    Looking over Denzel’s career, he’s been the “first” to pull off a lot of things at award shows.

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    GusCruz
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    #1202012116

    The reason denzel will win is because all the black academy voters will vote for him.

    Not enough votes!

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    Jason Travis
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    #1202012347

    Who was the last actor to win the Oscar with no BAFTA nomination? I understand the bias with the BAFTA and Denzel, but in reality it’s a stat that needs to be taken into consideration.

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    distain
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    #1202012411

    Who was the last actor to win the Oscar with no BAFTA nomination?

    Matthew McConaughey for The Dallas Buyers Club in 2014. Wasn’t nominated for BAFTA. Won the Best Actor Oscar. The fact that it’s happened quite recently suggests that BAFTA isn’t that significant a factor.

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    AayaanUpadhyaya
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    #1202012414

    Denzel is the first ever person to direct himself to an individual SAG award, so he’s already done something never before done at a major awards show this season.

    Looking over Denzel’s career, he’s been the “first” to pull off a lot of things at award shows.

    Get your history right, Roberto Benigni was the first to do that in 1999 when he won Actor in a Leading role for Life is Beautiful, not Denzel.

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    AayaanUpadhyaya
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    #1202012415

    Who was the last actor to win the Oscar with no BAFTA nomination?

    Matthew McConaughey for The Dallas Buyers Club in 2014. Wasn’t nominated for BAFTA. Won the Best Actor Oscar. The fact that it’s happened quite recently suggests that BAFTA isn’t that significant a factor.

    But Dallas Buyers Club was completely snubbed everywhere (including Leto in supporting). I’m not sure about this but weren’t their reports that the film opened to late or wasn’t eligible or something like that? If someone could clarify this that would be great.

    Fences, on the other hand, actually won a Bafta for Davis. So they obviously saw the film and considered Davis good enough to win, but didn’t think Washington was worthy enough to even be nominated? That is troubling for Washington.

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