A look at the men competing for Best Actor at the Oscars

For actors like the stars of “Moonlight,” a dream role can be a chance to really hone their craft, and if it nabs them an Academy Award in the process — that’s just a bonus.

Here’s a look at the five leading men nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars this Sunday.

Casey Affleck is the front runner for Best Actor for his role in the very heavy drama “Manchester by the Sea.” He plays a man returning to his New England hometown after the death of his brother. When he gets there, he’s surprised to learn he’s been made the guardian of his teenage nephew — something he wants no part of. Casey tells me, it’s the toughest role he’s ever taken on.

Casey Affleck: “It’s just sort of one of those phases in your life where you go, ‘I was really unhappy for a while,’ you know?”

Andrew Garfield stars as Desmond Doss in “Hacksaw Ridge,” the true story of a World War II medic who refused to go into battle with a weapon. Not only did he survive, but he also saved the lives of 75 soldiers.

Andrew Garfield: “He’s a hero who didn’t want to be one. He’s a hero who didn’t want his story told, which makes him even more heroic, ironically.”

Two-time Oscar-winner Denzel Washington is looking for number three with “Fences.” Denzel not only stars in the film based on the Tony Award-winning play, he directs it too. An Oscar nod is nice — but Denzel told me he’s swinging for the fences — not popularity.

Denzel Washington: “Whether they like me or not — I’m not as concerned with. You can’t — there are too many people.”

In “Captain Fantastic” Viggo Mortensen plays a father who’s raised his six kids in a blissful wilderness retreat, but that dreamworld is shattered after the death of his wife — and he’s forced to bring the kids back into the modern world.

Ryan Gosling learned more than just lines for the best picture front runner “La La Land” — he also learned to play the piano. The actor’s on a bit of a winning streak after taking home a Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Now if you’re saying, “Well I don’t get musicals,” Ryan says just remember this…

Ryan Gosling: “You have to kind of check your logical reasoning aside and just say, ‘They’re able to do that because that’s how they feel,’ and when you do that you can really go on the ride with the movie.”

This Sunday night, like they say — may the best man win.

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