Will Win: “Lady Bird”
Should Win: “Call Me by Your Name”
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, maybe it’s not, but it seems like Greta Gerwig’s stunning directorial debut, “Lady Bird,” has a legitimate shot at taking home the top prize on Oscar night. It’s universally loved, while more divisive frontrunners like “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” aren’t, and that indicates the level of support a film needs to go all the way.
There’s also Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous summer romance, “Call Me by Your Name,” which showcases exceptional work in all facets of its craft from uniformly breathtaking performances to beautiful cinematography, heartbreaking original music to perfect direction. Unfortunately, the film just doesn’t seem to be getting as much recognition from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as it deserves, as suggested by its meager four nominations. We’ll chalk that up to old age and heterosexuality.
Will Win: Guillermo del Toro for“The Shape of Water”
Should Win: Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird”
There just doesn’t seem to be any other way to call this one. Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” was a juggernaut at January’s Oscar nominations, racking up a whopping thirteen nominations in categories across the board, which seems to foreshadow a big win for the Mexican filmmaker. And to be fair, any filmmaker willing to apply genuine effort to making a prosthetic fish creature’s butt genuinely sexy, as del Toro said he did, deserves that kind of recognition.
On the other hand, “The Shape of Water” was one of my least favorite films of 2017, which is why I’m rooting for Gerwig to take home the trophy for her stunning directorial debut, “Lady Bird," no less.
Will Win: Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird”
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird”
There’s a chance Frances McDormand snags the award for her turn as an angry, grief-stricken mother in “Three Billboards.” By all accounts, though, it seems like “Lady Bird” star, Saoirse Ronan, has this one in the bag. Her performance has been the subject of loads of buzz since the film’s debut at Toronto International Film Festival last fall, and that’s very indicative of a big win come March 4.
Her performance is simply breathtaking, at once relatable, insanely charming, hilarious and occasionally tear-jerking. It’s a standout in a film that’s already overflowing with standouts.
Will Win: Gary Oldman for “Darkest Hour”
Should Win: Timothée Chalamet for “Call Me by Your Name” — or really anyone but Gary Oldman
In a perfect world, newcomer Timothée Chalamet would take home a Best Actor award for his breathtaking performance in “Call Me by Your Name.” As far as I’m concerned, he earned the award with the movie's stunning final scene, and the rest of the film is just icing on the cake.
Due to the Academy’s blatant preference for career awards and favoring seasoned performers over newcomers, it doesn’t seem like there’s anywhere this award is going than to two-time Oscar nominee and alleged wife-beater Gary Oldman. Oldman’s ex-wife Donya Fiorentino said in court papers that Oldman beat her with a telephone as their children watched.
Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Allison Janney for “I, Tonya”
Should Win: Laurie Metcalf for “Lady Bird”
Admittedly, Allison Janney’s ferociously enthralling turn as abusive mother LaVona Harding is one of the few highlights of the otherwise frustratingly subpar “I, Tonya.” It’s also nowhere near the best performance of the year.
Laurie Metcalf, on the other hand, delivers a nuanced and impressively poignant performance as mother Marion McPherson in “Lady Bird.” It’s a turn that, despite displaying a number of scattered emotions, feels stirringly cohesive.
Alternatively, the Academy might favor Lesley Manville’s bone-chilling “Phantom Thread” performance, which might make a nice statement about women in Hollywood coping with abuse.
Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Should Win: Michael Stuhlbarg for “Call Me by Your Name”
Here’s the thing. It’s hard to respect the Academy Awards when the year’s absolute best performance wasn’t even given a nod. Michael Stuhlbarg’s gut-wrenching monologue is easily one of the most impactful cinematic moments of the year, if not ever. His performance is filled with warmth and paternal charm and is undercut by a stirring current of genuine emotion.
As Frank Ocean eloquently and succinctly proclaimed on his Tumblr after seeing the film, “Michael Stuhlbarg is my new dad now and that's that.”
As far as feasibility, buzz seems to suggest Sam Rockwell’s slick and devilishly funny “Three Billboards” turn might fare better than that of his co-star's come March.
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