With the 90th annual Academy Awards only five weeks away, and nominations officially official, there is only so much time left for water-cooler debates about who is going to win big March 4th. We have already taken a look at the odds on the major category nominees (Best Supporting Actors/Actress, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, and Best Picture), and given our advice on the wagers available, but every day from now until February 27th (the last day for finals voting) is another chance for those odds to shift.
Below is our take on what the odds should look like at this juncture — meaning the next time Gary in accounting spends an entire coffee break explaining to you how Dunkirk is — without a doubt — going to win Best Picture, you can tell him with calm confidence that he is sorely mistaken.
It is an interesting year, in that the top contenders for the Academy Awards are the same as those who won at the Globes. While the Globes are a good test of popular appeal, they have not always been the best litmus test for success at the Oscars. Yes, when taking popularity, box-office success, subject matter, and individual performances into account, many of the early favorites are still looking pretty darn good. Time to delve into the current favorites (as we see them) for the six major categories.
The race between Sam Rockwell and Willem Dafoe remains a tight won, even following Rockwell’s SAG win for his work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Both actors have received acclaim for their respective roles, and prior to the SAG Awards, we would have sided with Dafoe as the frontrunner. However, with two award shows in the bag already — and a wonderfully complex performance in one of the year’s front-running films — you can look forward to a hat trick from Rockwell on this one.
Similar to Best Supporting Actor, the Best Supporting Actress category includes a tough decision. Allison Janney has done exceedingly well so far on the award-show circuit for her performance in I, Tonya, but what about Laurie Metcalf? In Lady Bird, she was the mother many of us know all too well — intense in her love for her family, yet unable to communicate it to those who matter most. She was nuanced to the point that it ceased to feel like acting. However, as it stands, Janney remains the favorite for the win. Without calling it a bias, the Academy does tend to love a true transformation; in this regard, Janney absolutely delivers.
Who will win Best Director is truly debatable. Guillermo del Toro is a fantastic director who gave us the beautiful Shape of Water. Greta Gerwig directed the near-perfect coming-of-age tale Lady Bird. Jordan Peele broke through long-standing barriers to bring his darkly satirical, social thriller Get Out to the forefront. Paul Thomas Anderson did what he does best in Phanton Thread, with one of the absolute best in Daniel Day-Lewis. And Christopher Nolan — well, Christopher Nolan’s direction in Dunkirk was hands-down some of the cinema giant’s best work yet.
There is an argument to be made for each and every candidate, possibly more so than in any other category this year. Going into this week, del Toro led the pack. However, recent allegations of plagiarism have come out, and with them, the strong potential for a shift in outcomes at the ballots. Keep your eye on this story; it could be a big deciding factor on who goes home with Best Director.
The odds for Gary Oldman winning Best Actor have not shifted much, nor should you expect them to. If we have said it once, we have said it 100 times — Oldman is going to win Best Actor. His top competitor is break-out star Timothee Chalamet, but he unfortunately turned in his fine performance in the wrong year.
It doesn’t necessarily feel “right” to just assume that the same people who won at the Golden Globes will win at the Academy Awards. Historically, and statistically, speaking this is not typically the case. However, previous award success aside, Frances McDormand delivered a performance for the ages in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Truly, you know it’s good when it’s enough to edge Ms. Streep out of the top spots — which also speaks highly of our second and third runners-up. But, when you stop to consider — as both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild voting bodies likely did — the depths of emotion McDormand had to go to for this role, well, then. The contest feels closed.
The odds in this category are interesting, if you’ve been paying much attention at all over the past year. The immediately obvious choices — Steven Spielberg, two war epics, and a movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis — have all managed to find themselves playing keep-up with the more unlikely nominees. What’s more, the odds for the more unlikely candidates keep getting shorter the closer we get to the red carpet.
Falling in our odds is Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, due to the aforementioned allegations of plagiarism. While it is the most-nominated film of the year, with a 13 total nods, and though these allegations have not been investigated thoroughly, the accusations have the potential to drastically swing the vote. Currently, Three Billboards keeps the lead, with Lady Bird and Get Out following close behind.
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