BEST PERFORMANCE BY A MALE IN A LEADING ROLE – CASEY AFFLECK
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – LUCAS HEDGES
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MICHELLE WILLIAMS
BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
BEST ORIGINAL SCREEN PLAY
If you’re thinking that Manchester By The Sea is a feel good film, then think again. This brilliant yet somewhat depressing film is the story of Lee Chandler who finds himself as the sole guardian of his 16 year old nephew after his brother passes away.
The film is told through a series of time jumps and flashbacks. Lee works in Boston as a janitor and much to his dismay, he is forced to return to Manchester By The Sea after the death of his brother. You soon find out that Manchester By The Sea holds demons from Lees past which are told poetically through the use of retrospective scenes.
The film is the first film to be nominated for a best picture Oscar which is distributed by a streaming service (The film was distributed by Amazon Studios) which is definitely a historical moment for the film industry. This sets a lot of standards and I’m sure Amazon, and Netflix will be doing everything they can this year to have films considered by the Academy in 2018.
As with most films, there was a lot of toss around between who would direct and star as lead in the film. Matt Damon was the first person to claim both lead and directorial roles back in 2011. This came after John Krasinki (Damons childhood friend) pitched the idea to Damon over dinner. The two of them soon took the idea to Kenneth Lonergan, imagining with a theme like the one they had it would be right up his street. Lonergan wrote a first draft over a few years and eventually came back to Damon with it. By this time, Damon was unable to commit to the film due to scheduling conflicts so he instead gave Lonergan directing duties as well as writing credits, and cast his other childhood friend Casey Affleck instead.
Casey Affleck takes the lead in this film and my goodness does he take it well. A lot of people are discussing Affleck as if he is a sort of newcomer in Hollywood and just ‘Bens younger brother’ but actually this is his second Oscar nomination. He was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Assassination of Jose James by the Coward Robert Ford. He also gained high praise for his role in Gone, Baby Gone. His talent is unquestionable. He begins his play as a mellow and seemingly subdued man, whilst we are left wondering what has happened to him to make him this way. It is obviously explained throughout the film exactly why he hold himself this way.
Michelle Williams stars alongside Affleck as his ex-wife. Her performance is extremely raw and extremely real. I LOVE Michelle Williams in pretty much everything & I think she does a wonderful job of paling these tragically tinged women she always seems to be cast in. One thing that did surprise me was her lack of screentime. She features little in the film, yet her performance is so convincing that she still managed to grab a nomination for best supporting actress.
Another actor picking up a nomination is Lucas Hedges. At age 20, he is the first male under 25 to be nominated for for an Academy Award since Jake Gyllenhall (Brokeback Mountain) back in 2005. I really really really enjoyed his appearance in the film in terms of his casting and his performance. It was extremely refreshing to have an actor who wasn’t perfectly preened and prepped to a tee as it was a lot more representativeve of most 16 year old boys. His relationship with Affleck seemed very true to life as he explored the ups and downs of teen life, irregardless of the death of his father.
Whilst its not one of the ‘loudest films’ to be nominated this year, it’s quietness is what makes it that much more remarkable.