I can understand your perspective Jeffrey, but I don’t necessarily agree with it. I haven’t seen Hamilton, so I’ll just stick to Room and The People V. O.J. Simpson.
With Room, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay were equally leads, but Larson was the one who certainly drove many actions of the film, primarily with her bold escape plan, and while the post-escape half was certainly devoted to Tremblay’s Jack discovering the outside world for the first time, the primary focus, at least to me, was Larson’s Joy readjusting to it. And while Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn was my runner-up choice, I feel Larson’s win was well-deserved because I felt she gave the most compelling and empathetic performance of the 5 nominees this year.
As for The People V. O.J. Simpson, it’s as much the story of all the major people featured in that show as much as it is about O.J. Simpson. It was as much Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran’s story as it was Simpson’s, because their lives are forever linked with the story and it was their work in the courtroom, particularly Cochran’s, that led to Simpson’s not guilty verdict.
So ultimately, I don’t think one should have to carry the whole burden on their back alone to win a leading actor award. If their performance stands out despite being part of an ensemble, I think it’s only fair to give it to the one whose performance was the best one overall.
I may still disagree, but I can totally understand. In fact, there actually are several ensemble members winning lead acting awards I totally would’ve voted for (Norbert Leo Butz in Catch Me If You Can; Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook; Billy Porter in Kinky Boots). Though other times, I still find it kind of unfair to those who are actually leading their productions.
Being the main lead can be an advantage as they would have most of the production all to themselves. Especially if you saw Tom O’Neil’s recent conversation with Pete Hammond about the current Emma Stone vs. Natalie Portman Oscar race.