• Cody James

OSCAR BREAKDOWN: Best Actor 2017

It’s time to address the elephant in the room…

James Franco, whose committed performance as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist generated loads of awards buzz during Oscar season.

Days prior to the announcement of the 2017 Academy Award nominees, five women came forward addressing sexual misconduct allegations towards Franco. With the “Me Too” and “Times Up!” movement, I am assuming the Academy wanted to spare themselves the trouble of honoring a performance by an actor undergoing such an investigation. But in this day and age, we have to ask ourselves, “was James Franco snubbed?”

While I was not shocked to see Franco omitted from this year’s list of Best Actor nominees, I can honestly say that in my opinion, James Franco gave THE best performance by an Actor this year. So in a logical sense, yes, James Franco was snubbed of not only a nomination but what was probably going to be a win. However, we can’t yet determine whether or not these accusations are true, so the Academy obviously decided to not take the risk of recognizing Franco’s work in The Disaster Artist. After James Franco won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy on January 7th for his performance in The Disaster Artist while wearing a “Times Up!” button, he was asked about the recent allegations that followed his big win on Late Night with Seth Meyers. In response to what he thought about the whole situation, he stated: “There are stories that need to get out. There are people that need to be heard. I have my own side of this story, but I believe in, you know, these people that have been underrepresented getting their stories out enough that I will hold back things that I could say just because I believe in it that much, and if I have to take a knock because I’m not going to try and actively refute things then I will. Because I believe in it that much.”

James Franco in The Disaster Artist.

So now that I’ve addressed that whole issue, I can’t help but wonder who took Franco’s place in the list of nominees for this category. Perhaps we’ll figure that out as I review the performances of each nominee. With that said, I am now going to list my personal choice for the Best Actor Academy Award of 2017, starting with my least likely to win to my favorite performance. At the end of this post, I will share who I think the Academy will select to win the award this year.

So let’s get to it! Starting with…


Denzel Washington

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Washington’s effective performance as a defense lawyer who must deal with a corrupt legal system is a perfect example of how you don’t need to star in a smash hit to get recognized. While Roman J. Israel, Esq. had a weak box office debut and tepid reviews, Washington has been universally praised for his performance and has now landed his 8th Oscar nomination. But what makes Denzel my least likely vote to win is the fact that while critics applauded his performance, I don’t think many people have even heard of this film. While many sceptics criticize the Academy Awards for recognizing films that nobody has seen (that is obviously an overreaching statement), Roman J. Israel, Esq. seemed to leave theaters just as quickly as it arrived. Nevertheless, another great performance to add to Washington’s list of accomplishments.


Timothée Chalamet

Call Me by Your Name

As the Oscars telecast approaches, the coming-of-age romance Call Me by Your Name continues to get mentioned more and more, and most of the praise is going toward newcomer Timothée Chalamet who plays a 17-year old who falls in love with his father’s American friend with the Italian countryside as their setting. Chalamet, who recently gained recognition in another critically praised film, Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, takes on the lead role in Luca Guadagnino’s modern gay drama, and creates a character that so many gay men can identify with. The story isn’t necessarily about love, it’s about getting closer to finding out who you are. Timothée Chalamet is 22 years old and has set a great precedent to his credibility as an actor.


Daniel Day-Lewis

Phantom Thread

Will this really be Daniel Day-Lewis’s last film before retiring? Could it be a ploy to add another statue to the method actor’s collection of three Academy Awards? Regardless of whether Daniel Day-Lewis will continue his film career after Oscars season, the psychological drama Phantom Thread is a top-notch performance for Daniel Day-Lewis as he throws himself into the character of a successful London dressmaker who becomes fixated by his lover and muse and struggles to find a balance between managing his new love and focusing on his creative outlet. While “Phantom Thread” will surely win the Oscar for best Costume Design, the couture fashions of the 1950’s are captured beautifully, there is some debate of whether or not this will be Daniel Day-Lewis’s fourth oscar win, which will make him tied with Katharine Hepburn as the most Academy Awards given to a single actor.


Daniel Kaluuya

Get Out

How awesome would it be to see Daniel Kaluuya take home an Oscar for his astonishing performance in writer-director Jordan Peele’s creatively charged horror-drama Get Out? As much as I’d like to see this happen, I’m not expecting a win from Kaluuya this year as he is up against two veteran actors, one of whom is believed to be retiring, and the other who has been making a clean sweep through awards season with his performance. But the fact that the Academy chose to recognize the very controversial Get Out with 4 oscar nominations, all in the major categories is very refreshing and Daniel Kaluuya approached the lead role with such commitment and wasn’t afraid to escape into something that was so intense to watch.


Gary Oldman

Darkest Hour

There are a couple of key criteria that make Gary Oldman the odds-on favorite to win this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

1. The Academy goes nuts whenever an actor tackles the role of a historical figure, especially when there is a significant transformation in appearance involved.

2. The Academy often honors an actor/actress who has “paid their dues” and not yet won an award. Despite a long resume of many iconic performances, Oldman has only been nominated for an Academy Award one other time in 2011 for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Without a doubt, one of the most versatile actors of our generation, often being unrecognizable in film roles like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and True Romance, Gary Oldman proves once again his ability to transform into a real-life figure as he portrays Winston Churchill during his early days as Prime Minister of Great Britain. Like much of Oldman’s past work, he transforms into Churchill and makes you forget you are watching someone acting as a historical figure. His performance is a culmination of a career of creating diverse characters. Despite a brilliant performance, I have considered the fact that Darkest Hour and Oldman’s performance is a great example of a film basically designed to win Academy Awards, which frankly I am getting tired of. But due to James Franco’s omission from this year’s list of nominees, I see no reason why Gary Oldman shouldn’t be given what many might consider to be an overdue Oscar.

So to recap, here are my personal picks for Best Actor:

Best Actor 2017 – Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

2nd - Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out

3rd - Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread

4th - Timothée Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name

5th - Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq.

And here is how I think the Academy will vote:

Best Actor 2017 – Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour

2nd - Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread

3rd - Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out

4th - Timothée Chalamet for Call Me by Your Name

5th - Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Who do you think will win?

Do you think that James Franco should be on this year’s list of nominees?

Subscribe to my blog and post your opinions below!

Be sure to watch the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th!


About the Administrator:

My name is Cody James. Welcome to my blog - Some Like It Hollywood!

Since I was a kid, movies have always been my virtual escape from reality.

I love ALL TYPES of films from every era and enjoy talking about them.

I currently host a movie review segment on 102.9 W4 Country in Ann Arbor, MI.

You can also follow my blog on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

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