Best Picture Nominees -- Manchester By The Sea


The Academy Awards are less than 10 days away, and nine films are vying for the top spot. In my continuing look at the contenders, today I put a quiet New England tale that packs an emotional wallop under the microscope.

Manchester By the Sea
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges, and Kyle Chandler
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Total Nominations: Six
Nominated For: Best Picture, Best Actor (Affleck), Best Supporting Actor (Hedges), Best Supporting Actress (Williams), Best Director (Lonergan), and Best Original Screenplay (Lonergan)
About: Anyone who's seen this film knows it has a power. It's a small, intimate story, but the emotional heft of the characters' journey makes it intense. And I think it's one of three films that has a legitimate shot at the top prize. I don't think it will win Best Picture, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. This is a memorable film, and one that's received glowing reviews for months. It's nominated for six Academy Awards, and it would be a surprise if it didn't earn at least one award on Oscar night. But for what? I would rank it third in the Best Picture race, and I think Hedges and Williams, though great in their roles, are far from the favorites in their categories. It's the other three awards where this film has the best chance. I think Lonergan has a decent chance at the screenplay and director categories. His chief competition in both is Damien Chazelle. I think there's a chance the categories split, with each of these filmmakers taking home one award. But the best chance at a gold statue comes in the Best Actor category, where Affleck has won a number of awards so far this season. Affleck is the favorite to win on Oscar night, too, and I think he's likely to do it. Either way, "Manchester By The Sea" is a great and powerful film, and one I expected to be honored in some way on February 26.
Rating: R for language throughout and some sexual content.
Verdict: Four stars out of four.
Where to See It: "Manchester By The Sea" is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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