Will Win - Denzel Washington "Fences"
Could Win - Casey Affleck "Manchester By the Sea"
Should Win - Washington or Affleck
Commentary - This category really is a win-win for me on a personal level, because either of these performers winning will make me happy. Affleck is quiet and heartbreaking and Denzel is commanding. They are both great in their own ways, and its kind of a shame they can't tie (or can they? probably not). This one is the closet of the acting categories, set off by Denzel's SAG win. Casey came back at BAFTA, but that has always been a strange anomaly for Denzel who has yet to receive a nomination from that body. This really is a close race, but in the end I think that Denzel will pull it off. He has been campaigning like crazy in the last couple of months, whereas Casey is absent. Oscar voters like bigger performances, and Casey is so quiet compared to Denzel in Fences. Finally, while many voters might not really care, I can't help but think that Casey's personal controversies has affected enough voters to make a difference. It is a horse race to the finish, but I think it is Denzel who will cross the line first, and join an elite group of actors with three well-deserved Academy Awards.