Meet the 2017 Academy Awards Nominees: Best Actor in a Leading Role

Sensitive. Powerful. Heartbreaking. Touching. All of this year's Best Actor in a Leading Role nominees create performances that made us smile in one moment and broke our hearts in the next. Before the Academy Award winner is announced tonight, get to know these unbelievable gentleman!

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Meet Casey Affleck

Manchester by the Sea

Hometown: Falmouth, Massachusetts

Training: Studied politics for 1 year at George Washington University and transferred to Columbia University for 2 years, but never finished.

Big Break: After decades of smaller, mostly cameo roles, his major breakthrough came in 2007 with "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (1st Oscar nomination) and "Gone Baby Gone" (directed by his brother Ben).

Fun Fact: He was a construction worker and a busboy in between acting jobs in his 20s.

Meet Andrew Garfield

Hacksaw Ridge

Hometown: Epsom, Surrey

Training: Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London

Big Break: Although he started his career in television and the London theatre, his film breakthrough role came in "The Social Network" (2010).

Fun Fact: As a kid, he was a gymnast.

Meet Ryan Gosling

La La Land

Hometown: Ontario, Canada

Big Break: A child actor who starred on Disney Channel's "The Mickey Mouse Club" (1993-1995) and "Are You Afraid of the Dark" (1995), he gained mainstream attention for his work in "The Notebook" (2004) and was nominated for his first Academy Award for "Half Nelson" (2006).

Fun Fact: A.J. McLean offered Ryan an audition for the Backstreet Boys, but he turned it down!

Meet Viggo Mortensen

Captain Fantastic

Hometown: New York City

Training: St. Lawrence University (BA Spanish Studies and Politics)

Big Break: Playing lots of supporting film roles in the mid-80/90s, Viggo's role in "G.I. Jane" (1997) and then "The Lords of the Rings" (2001-2003) ultimately solidified his international star status.

Fun Fact: He is a true Renaissance man. He writes poetry and paints and has published a series of books. His art often combines poetry and painting in an abstract way. He is also fluent in English, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, and understands Norwegian and Swedish.

Meet Denzel Washington


Hometown: Mount Vernon, New York

Training: Fordham (BA in Drama and Journalism), American Conservatory Theatre (MFA in Acting; for 1 year)

Big Break: Denzel's first major break was actually on television in the series "St. Elsewhere" (1982-1988). He went on to earn his first Academy Award nomination for "Cry Freedom" (1987) and won his first Academy Award for "Glory" (1989).

Fun Fact: In college, he started out playing basketball and struggled to decide what to major in. He took a semester off and worked as a creative arts director for the YMCA and discovered a love for acting.

Happy Oscar Sunday!

Tom Morin is a NYC-based acting coach, co-founder of Polish Your Passion, and a professional actor/singer. He holds a B.A. in Theatre & Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University and has been teaching for the past 9 years, advising and coaching students through the college audition process and beyond. He loves coffee, Shakespeare, and YouTube.

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