Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” Ali will make almost everyone’s Best Supporting Actor list this awards season. Even people like me, who didn’t enjoy “Moonlight” nearly as much as others, can appreciate Ali’s superb Good Samaritan performance in the film. My only wish after watching “Moonlight” was to see more of Ali’s character on the big-screen.
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water” Bridges stars as a long in the tooth Texas Ranger named Marcus Hamilton, who desires to bring swift justice to the pair of bank bandits before his pending retirement. “Hell or High Water” may be promoted as two brothers robbing banks, however, it’s more about two give-and-take relationships. These dueling bonds consist of one representing the law with Bridges’ and his Texas Ranger sidekick, the other a brotherhood of outlaws raised in an abusive household. One rapport the culmination of years serving together and the other a result of years spent apart. Bridges is critical to the success of “Hell or High Water” and is the front-runner.
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water” Jeff Bridges may be the film’s most accomplished and notable Hollywood face, but his performance is matched along every stretch of west Texas highway by a very formidable Ben Foster (“Lone Survivor”). The shear strength of “Hell or High Water” resides in one of the strongest ensemble casts of 2016 and an authentic, captivating story to tell. Foster’s volatile Tanner Howard character and sidekick to “Star Trek Beyond” captain Chris Pine in this movie, made this remarkable outlaw story spectacular and one that should do very well at The Oscars.
Simon Helberg, “Florence Foster Jenkins” A charming and delightful love story, “Florence Foster Jenkins” dominates with splendid performances by Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg–whom moviegoers will recognize from television’s “The Big Bang Theory” show. The 55-year old, nearly ageless Grant exudes his exceptional comedy skills we’ve growth accustomed to since 1994’s “Four Weddings and A Funeral”. It’s Simon Helberg’s role as pianist Cosme McMoon, however, that steals every scene in this gem.
David Oyelowo, “Queen of Katwe” Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), carry this unbelievable and inspirational winner. “Queen of Katwe” is a heartwarming narrative about a young girl’s heady chess game talents inside a Ugandan slum. The film generates wide audience appeal using a board game to connect us to characters who change others’ life paths. And it’s Oyelowo’s dynamic mentorship and ability to see a young girl remarkable gift that eloquently taps into the movie’s strongest chess move of all; the strength of two women.
Honorable Mentions: Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) and Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”).
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