The 64th National Film Awards, which was announced on Friday, saw quite a few unexpected and unlikely winners but none more than the two actors who fought it out for the Best Actor gong - Akshay Kumar, who eventually won it, and Mohanal, who earned a special jury award.


Of course, there is no doubt about the quality of both actors. However, the general consensus is that their performances, in the films which won them the awards, were nothing close to their best and, more importantly, there were better candidates this year.


Akshay won Best Actor for his turns in 'Rustom' and 'Airlift', and social media didn't take kindly to the news. Plenty of viral memes and trolls have been floating around on Facebook and Twitter, expressing both amazement and disapproval, ever since the awards were announced. 


Meanwhile, Mohanlal earned his special jury award for his performances in 'Janatha Garage', 'Pulimurugan', 'Munthirivallikal Thalirkkumbol', two of which were purely commercial and action-oriented films. And even the actor's die-hard fans will agree that his performances in any of those films weren't award-worthy.


Obviously, many social media users were quick to point out what they felt was the 'obvious connection' - Priyadarshan . The Malayalam filmmaker headed the jury panel which decided on the National Awards this year, and it goes without saying that both Akshay and Mohanlal are good friends and close associates of the ace director.


Mohanlal, especially, is one of Priyadarshan's best friends. The two have been friends since school and started in the industry around the same time, combining in several films over the last three decades - from Priyadarshan's debut 'Poochakkoru Mookkuthi' in 1984 to last year's 'Oppam'. Meanwhile, Priyadarshan also played a huge role in the rise of Akshay as one of Bollywood's leading men by collaborating on a bunch of popular comedies from 'Hera Pheri'  (2000) to 'Khatta Meetha' (2010).


After announcing the awards, Priyadarshan said that "Akshay and Mohanlal were the main two contenders", a statement which didn't go well down with many, including independent art filmmakers like Dr Biju.


Most Mollywood fans believe Vinayakan in 'Kammatti Paadam' and Fahadh Faasil in 'Maheshinte Prathikaram' were better shouts this year, while Bollywood circles feel Aamir Khan in 'Dangal', Amitabh Bachchan in 'Pink' and Shahid Kapoor in 'Udta Punjab' deserved some recognition, probably more than Akshay. Plus, there were also a few brilliant performances in the Marathi and Bengali industries last year, which deserved the nod.


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