Sorry but Sasha Stone has it wrong: Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen are clearly the leads in Mike Leigh‘s Another Year. They are the center-of gravity couple whom the supporting characters (including the tragically touching Lesley Manville) visit and congregrate around. They’re the base and the core of the piece.
I agree that Broadbent and Sheen are “soft” leads and that Manville is a much more vivid presence that both of them combined, but there’s no way Manville can be called the absolute and unquestioned lead in that film. Her sad-eyed character is the one you remember the most, of course, but that doesn’t mean she rules the roost.
This, at least, is the argument that Sony Classics has to make to persuade everyone concerned that Manville should be nominated for Best Supporting Actress and not lead. As I said the other day, this would be a tactical error. She has an excellent chance of winning in Best Supporting, and at best an iffy chance of winning for Best Actress. And I’m saying that as one of her greatest admirers.