The competition: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea), Dev Patel (Lion), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
Previous winners: Mark Rylance, J.K. Simmons, Jared Leto, Christoph Waltz, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, Christoph Waltz, Heath Ledger
My winner: To be announced soon!
The facts: Bridges has been nominated six times in the past, winning in 2009 for “Crazy Heart.” Shannon is the only other nominee who contended previously, in 2008 for “Revolutionary Road.” Shannon serves as the only representative of his film this year, while the other four all star in Best Picture nominees. Shannon’s costar, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who isn’t nominated here, took home the Globe, and Ali won both the Critics Choice Award, where all these nominees were up for the award, and the SAG. Patel triumphed over Ali with BAFTA, but that’s likely because he’s British.
Who should win: I really liked both Hedges and Patel and would be very happy if either of them won. Ali, a dependable actor who was a strong part of his film, would be a great choice too. I loved Bridges’ film but don’t feel that he was the strongest part, and I’m also a huge fan of Shannon’s but don’t think this was anywhere near his best performance, even if he was the only saving grace about a movie I hated.
Who will win: Barring a big surprise, I think all signs point to Ali, especially since his beloved film may not win in any other category and this would be an important recognition for it.