So is the competition among Best Actor contenders a little weak this year, as a colleague recently suggested? When you get past Casey Affleck‘s performance in Manchester By The Sea (locked) and Denzel Washington‘s in Fences (likely), maybe.
The others comprise a roster of approvable-but-not-greats — Tom Hanks in Sully (sober, believable, sturdy), Ryan Gosling in La La land (skillful and affecting but the film belongs to Emma Stone), Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge (a respectable if “actorish” performance), Joel Edgerton in Loving (not up to Ruth Negga‘s level), Dev Patel in Lion (a decent turn but not as good as the little kid who stars in the first third) and Robert De Niro in The Comedian (which no one has seen).
Jonah Hill as former arms dealer Efraim Diveroli in Todd Phillips’ War Dogs.
Remember War Dogs? I know — not serious enough, released in August, a Todd Phillips film, etc. But if you ask me Jonah Hill was a remarkable stand-out as 20something arms dealer and stone-cold sociopath Efraim Diveroli. Not one of those “maybe” or “pretty good” performances, but extra-level. Really.
From my 8.17.16 review: “Hill’s rascally, conniving performance is the big reason to see War Dogs this weekend. Jonah, Jonah, Jonah…back in Superbad territory but with less schtick and colder blood. The highs, lows and demonic detours of a sociopathic, three-card-monte hustler!
“Jonah is in charge of the surge moments. Half the time you’re thinking ‘okay, this is good, moving along but where’s Jonah?’ or, you know, ‘what’s Jonah’s next big bullshit play gonna be’?