Blog | Oscar Talk - January 15th, 2018
Oscar Talk - January 15th, 2018
January 15, 2018
By: Movie Critic Dave
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Since my last look at the Oscar landscape, the Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards have been handed out. We're beginning to get a clearer picture of the direction Oscar voting may take and here's a look at the current state of the major categories:

Best Picture

Safe Bets: It appears that the Best Picture race could be down to three films, Globe Winners Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird, as well as Critics' Choice champion The Shape of Water. If I had to lean in one direction at this moment, I'm feeling like Three Billboards owns the slight edge. Even with keys misses from all the major guilds, Spielberg's unbelievable reputation with the Academy has me believing that The Post will earn a nom, and it's hard to argue against Get Out's continued support. 

Other Potential Nominees: Even without an acting nod in any major awards precursor, I'm still feeling good about Dunkirk's inclusion in the final mix, along with indie darling Call Me by Your Name. I, Tonya has faired well in the precursors and The Big Sick still looks like a possible player too. The Florida Project has a loyal following, perhaps enough to become a finalist, but it's still a fringe nominee at the moment.

Dark Horse Contenders: I'm not banking on their inclusions but if there is a surprise, chances are it will be one of Phantom Thread, Darkest Hour or Molly's Game

Best Director

Safe Bets: The Shape of Water's Guillermo del Toro continues to separate himself from the pack, as he and fellow DGA nominees Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards) and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird) should also get in as well.

Other Potential Nominees: Missing out on a DGA is disastrous for Steven Spielberg (The Post), who lost out to Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) and first-time director Jordan Peele (Get Out). Spielberg has the cache to overtake Nolan or Peele, both of which have never been nominated before, but it's beginning to feel like a stronger case can be made against Spielberg.

Dark Horse Contenders: It would be extremely unpredictable for anyone outside of the six listed above to score a nod, but the most probable long shots are Luca Guadagnino (Call Me by Your Name) and Joe Wright (Darkest Hour).

Best Actor

Safe Bets: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) sure looks unbeatable at the moment, while Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) should certainly earn a nod as well.

Other Potential Nominees: After the top pair, there's a small crowd fighting for the final three spots. Even with the recent allegations against him, James Franco (The Disaster Artist) will be difficult to unseat from the top five. Timothee Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) have both looked strong in the precursors, but Tom Hanks and the overall popularity of The Post will be a huge x-factor in multiple categories.

Dark Horse Contenders: As a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal's work in Stronger, I refuse to lose hope in his nearly non-existent chances. Christian Bale (Hostile) is always a dangerous threat when it comes to the Academy as well.

Best Actress

Safe Bets: Almost all of the acting categories have begun going in one direction only, leaving Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) as a clear frontrunner. This is a crowded race, but I'm also thinking that most of the field is set. You can add Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) to the list of safe nominees.

Other Potential Nominees: If the four aforementioned ladies above are all presumed, that leaves one spot remaining for fringe players Meryl Streep (The Post), Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game) and SAG Nominee Judi Dench (Victoria and Abdul). All of these women come with their red flags, but Streep's insane reputation still has me beliving that she'll get in. The Post has failed to secure attention from any of the major guilds, yet Victoria and Abdul doesn't feel like a true Oscar player. That leaves jessica Chastain as an intriguing fifth player. She has a history of Oscar notoriety and her film, Molly's Game, is in play for a screenplay nod.

Dark Horse Contenders: In the Fade has performed very well in the precursors for Foreign Film, making Diane Kruger a sneaky long shot, and Michelle WIlliams (All the Money int he World) always delivers attention-worthy work.

Best Supporting Actor

Safe Bets: Current frontrunner Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) is off to a fiery start, with Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) hoping to steal a win as a winless veteran, and Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) also firmly entrenched as a finalist.

Other Potential Nominees: Two nominations remain and there are many directors the voters could go. A Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards) nod would mark the first time since 1991's Bugsy that a film places two supporting actors in the final five. Therefore, perhaps All the Money in the World's Christopher PlummerCall Me by Your Name's Armie Hammer and Battle of the SexesSteve Carell stand as other possible choices who could find their way in.

Dark Horse Contenders: Supporting stars Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me by Your Name) and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) face the trouble of spliiting votes with co-stars, but I wouldn't be too shocked if either one stole a fifth nomination.

Best Supporting Actress

Safe Bets: I, Tonya's Allison Janney is slowly pulling away from her biggest competitor, Lady Bird's Laurie Metcalf, but I don't feel secure for any other potential nominee in the race.

Other Potential Nominees: That leaves a trio of spots available for a rather crowded field. Downsizing's Hong Chau gives a brilliant performance and she's been highlighted by all the major precursors, yet she battles the widespread negativity surrounding her film. Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) has also been included by the main precursors, but she's a first-timer banking on a Netflix film. Finally, Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water) has a successful history with the Academy, including an Oscar win for The Help, and Lesley Manville is spectacular in Phantom Thread, which is sneaky good.

Dark Horse Contenders: The seven women listed above should secure the five nominations. But if Academy voters go in a surprisingly different direction, it's safe to expect Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) to be the beneficiary.