Oscar revolution for Best Picture: ‘Three Billboards’ & ‘Lady Bird’ could ambush ‘Dunkirk’ [VIDEO AND PODCAST]

“I did something very impetuous yesterday: I declared that ‘Three Billboards’ will win Best Picture. I planted my flag in it,” says Tom O’Neil about his gutsy prediction that the indie film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will pull off an upset for Best Picture over the current presumed favorites “Dunkirk” and “The Shape of Water.” Is he right? Watch him dissect all the top contenders for Best Picture with Daniel Montgomery above, or scroll down to listen to the audio podcast version at the bottom of this post.

We’ve certainly seen a revolution in the Best Picture race since the academy switched that category to a preferential ballot where voters rank the nominees in order of preference. That has benefited consensus choices the entire academy can rally around like the last two surprise winners, “Spotlight” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016). And O’Neil may have his finger on the pulse: remember that he was the one who warned us that “Spotlight” was going to win late in that race after the momentum seemed to have shifted to “The Revenant.”

However, Montgomery thinks “Three Billboards” might be divisive. “I think if there’s a consensus surprise in the ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Moonlight’ vein, I think it’s actually likelier to be ‘Lady Bird,'” he counters. “It’s a lovable, huggable movie” that could rank highly enough on the mass of voter ballots to push it over the line against films like “Dunkirk” and “Three Billboards” which may have lots of passionate support, but potentially also their fair share of detractors.

It doesn’t hurt that “Lady Bird” is directed by Greta Gerwig. The #OscarsSoWhite controversy drove the academy to make changes to try to increase diversity in the voting body, and then “Moonlight” won Best Picture soon thereafter. Now the Oscars may be feeling the same pressure about the limited support for female filmmakers in the industry — only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director and only one has ever won (Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker”).

“In a post-Harvey Weinstein era of Hollywood” that has shined a light on the struggles women face against an industry dominated by men, Montgomery says, they might want to rally around a female-centered film from a female director that still has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing with 170 reviews counted. A movie with unanimous agreement from 170 critics is the definition of a consensus choice. But will the Oscars feel the same way?

Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives and top name stars can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

Below: Audio podcast version of this discussion. Do a search for GoldDerby at iTunes to subscribe to our podcast channel full of more in-depth analysis of latest Oscar predictions.

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