This year’s awards season is turning out to be a lot more diverse and a lot less predictable than most years are. The Academy Awards, which will be given out this Sunday, have a lot of history making nominees including Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Rachel Morrison being the first woman to ever receive a nomination for cinematography and ‘The Big Sick’ earning a nod for original screenplay. Those history making additions are among some of the reasons the Oscar winners aren’t set in stone. So who wins and who will just go home as a history making nominee?
While other awards shows split into comedy/musical and drama categories the Oscars lump them all together, generally leaving two standout possible winners. This year, save for any snafus like last, it’s likely a drama will come out ahead again. There are nine strong candidates, particularly “Lady Bird” and “Get Out.” But despite their popularity it’s likely to come down to “The Shape of Water,” which leads with 13 nominations, or “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” which has been the sleeper winner of the season. While personally “Three Billboards” wasn’t all that impressive the winning edge is likely to go their way.
Gary Oldman is going to win this. There’s just no chance he doesn’t. He’s been sweeping awards season for his transformative performance as Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hour” and that sweep will continue. It’d be incredible to see Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name” or Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”) win for their breakout performances, but Oldman has just dominated this category all season long.
Lead Actress is probably the most up in the air category of the entire show. While Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards”) has been sweeping the drama category at every awards show, she has basically directly expressed to the Academy voters that she doesn’t want the Oscar. Saoirse Ronan, who is a three time Oscar nominee at only 23 years old, and Margot Robbie could take it from her as the two have been splitting the best actress comedy awards between them for their incredible performances in “Lady Bird” and “I, Tonya” respectively. And truthfully it’s hard to count out Sally Hawkins, who beautifully plays her role as a mute woman in “Shape of Water” or Meryl Streep who has earned her record breaking 21st nomination for “The Post.” It’s an incredibly strong category, but despite her attempts to urge voters to let someone else win, McDormand will probably end the night with the Oscar.
Supporting Actor has some surprising nominees; in particular Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards”) earning a nod instead of Armie Hammer for “Call Me by Your Name,” but the competition isn’t strong enough to take this one away from Sam Rockwell. Rockwell, who’s been an overlooked indie actor most of his career, has been a sweep for this category all season long. While I can think of other roles and films I’d much rather have seen him win for than “Three Billboards,” most recent in memory being “The Way, Way Back,” he’s going to take home this Oscar.
Much in the way that Lead Actress is a tour de force of women who could easily win awards for their performances, Supporting Actress is a wildly strong category. However, the difference in this category is that there’s an obvious sweeping winner: Alison Janney. Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”) and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) are some fierce competition and it’s nice to see Lesley Melville getting some credit for her role in “The Phantom Thread,” in which she easily overshadows the male lead. But all of that being said doesn’t change the fact that since the first awards season of the year it’s been pretty clear that Janney was going to win it all right up to the Oscar for her performance as Tonya Harding’s abusive mother in “I, Tonya.”
Gut instinct tells you that Guillermo del Toro will win for his hauntingly, beautiful monster romance “The Shape of Water.” However he does have some new competition in Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”), who were previously shut out of other Best Director awards. Both delivered outstanding film’s in their solo directing debut’s, but the award still does lean more towards del Toro.
Best Animated Feature
You know the year in animation wasn’t a very strong one when “The Boss Baby” is an Oscar nominee. Luckily though we won’t have to live in a world where it’s an Oscar winner. “Coco” will easily take this award home for being such a culturally significant and beautifully important film. There’s also a pretty strong chance that “Coco” wins for best song.
The 90th Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC Sunday, March 4.