In the race for Best Actress (Play) at last year’s Tony Awards, Laurie Metcalf seemed like the frontrunner to win for “A Doll’s House, Part 2.” However, Laura Linney had built herself some momentum with victories at the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for “The Little Foxes.” In the end, Metcalf prevailed at the Tonys. Could history be repeating itself this Oscar season? Early on in the race for Best Supporting Actress, Metcalf seemed like a solid frontrunner to win for her performance as the domineering mother in “Lady Bird.” So even though Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) is winning all the precursors, Metcalf shouldn’t give up yet.
Janney has dominated recent televised kudos with victories at the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards for her performance as Tonya Harding‘s overbearing mother. Neither of those precursors mean as much to the Oscars since they don’t have a shared voting unit with the academy. What will be telling is who wins at the SAG Awards, as that’s the group that is usually great at predicting Oscar’s acting champs.
Janney and Metcalf are both threats to win there given that they’re not only veteran actresses who’ve worked with a lot of members of the Actor’s Branch, but also TV stars. Janney has previously won six Screen Actors Guild Awards, two of them individually for “The West Wing” in 2001 and 2002. Metcalf on the other hand has only been nominated once before as a member of the ensemble on “Desperate Housewives” back in 2007. “Lady Bird” marks her very first individual bid at SAG, where the film’s cast is also nominated.
If Janney triumphs at SAG, the race will probably be over as she ticks off three important boxes required to win Oscars. She plays a real person (LaVona Fay Golden), undergoes a physical transformation, and gives a bigger performance. Though if Metcalf wins SAG, then the race won’t be over yet as she’s has a more heartfelt role.
What also might end up being a factor is that Allison Janney has been putting herself out there with various interviews promoting “I, Tonya,” while Laurie Metcalf hasn’t been doing as much of them for “Lady Bird,” partly due to her shooting schedule for the upcoming return of “Roseanne.” Then again, we have seen exceptions like Mo’Nique (“Precious,” 2009) and Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” 2015) pull off Oscar wins without having done any campaigning at all.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank 2018 Oscar contenders in this and the other top races. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date odds before you make make your Oscar nomination predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.