Casey Affleck "Manchester By the Sea"
Joel Edgerton "Loving"
Ryan Gosling "La La Land"
Michael Keaton "The Founder"
Denzel Washington "Fences"
Other Contenders - Nate Parker "The Birth of a Nation", Chris Pratt "Passengers", Joe Alwyn "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", Michael Fassbender "The Light Between Oceans", Brad Pitt "Allied", Tom Hanks "Sully", Andrew Garfield "Silence", Jake Gyllenhaal "Nocturnal Animals", Miles Teller "Bleed for This", Colin Farrell "The Lobster", Will Smith "Collateral Beauty", Don Cheadle "Miles Ahead", Ethan Hawke "Born to Be Blue", Joseph Gordon-Levitt "Snowden", Dev Patel "Lion", Trevante Rhodes "Moonlight", David Oyelowo "A United Kingdom", Demetrius Shipp Jr. "All Eyez On Me", Charlie Hunnam "The Lost City of Z", Chris Evans "Captain America: Civil War", Ryan Reynolds "Deadpool", Michael Shannon "Midnight Special", Parker Sawyers "Southside With You", Woody Harrelson "LBJ", Gael Garcia Bernal "Neruda", Mark Wahlberg "Deepwater Horizon"
Commentary - Nate Parker's recent headlines might have just sidelined the entire film. I am only holding him out for now, and seeing how it unfolds. That puts someone like Casey Affleck in this. He is a previous nominee, and Manchester By the Sea has a lot of buzz out of Sundance. Michael Keaton will hit his "overdue" moment this year, Denzel has already won a Tony for this role, and Ryan Gosling + Emma Stone + Damien Chazelle seems like a perfect Oscar formula. Finally, Joel Edgerton, along with his co-star Ruth Negga joined this race after Cannes, and I think he will hold on. Beyond those five, and Parker, there is Chris Pratt, who has steadily built his film profile, opposite Oscar magnet Jennifer Lawrence. Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Will Smith, and Don Cheadle all return to this race, look for their first wins (acting in the case of Pitt). Newcomer Joe Alwyn is an unknown for Ang Lee's latest, Andrew Garfield is still owed a nod for Social Network and stars in the new Scorsese film, Jake Gyllenhaal has several roles, Colin Farrell is the best performance from the first part of the year, Tom Hanks is playing Sully, and Miles Teller is a star on the rise. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Snowden, Dev Patel has Weinstein behind him, Parker Sawyers plays the President, Ethan Hawke plays a legend, Charlie Hunnam has a buzzed role, and finally don't forget some of the big guys like Ryan Reynolds and Chris Evans.