Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) has won all the major precursors so far leading up to the Oscars, including Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and SAG. Oscar voters like to sometimes go their own way, though, and in an incredibly strong year for Best Actress like this one, this could be the one acting category in which we see an upset. Who do YOU think could take her down at the 2018 Oscars? Vote in our poll below.
McDormand does already have an Oscar, for 1996’s “Fargo,” so it is possible that voters will look for an alternative in this category. The actress is openly apathetic to campaigning and award shows in general and even said in her SAG speech earlier this year, “There’s a lot of young ones coming up and they need doorstops, too.” Will Oscar voters heed her advice and vote for some emerging talent instead? Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of the other nominees.
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water” — Hawkins has an X factor to her performance in that she is playing a mute character. As Elisa Esposito she is forced to communicate solely through sign language and body movements, and she is a major factor in how the film works so well. Hawkins has various critics wins under her belt, including Los Angeles, and she has a previous Oscar nomination for “Blue Jasmine” (2013) so we know voters like her. The question is whether the expected love for “The Shape of Water” will extend to its princess without voice.
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya” — Robbie is a shining example of what voters love in this category — a glamorous movie star transforming herself to play a real-life character. Playing disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, Robbie gets numerous baity scenes, from dealing with her oppressors to a court testimonial to putting on makeup in a dramatic one-take. Oscar voters love the ingenue in Best Actress, but considering “I, Tonya” underperformed overall, this may end up being a “welcome to the club” nomination rather than a winning performance.
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird” — Ronan is another ingenue who has used the charm offensive this award season, playing the titular character in “Lady Bird.” Her thick Irish accent is nowhere to be found in the film, and the specificity of her performance to Sacramento in the early 2000s makes this a surprisingly transformative performance as well. Ronan has many positives in her favor, having earned the Golden Globe (Comedy or Musical), previous Oscar nominations, for “Atonement” (2007) and “Brooklyn” (2015), and being in a Best Picture nominee. Yet, is her performance too subtle or light to win over showier work?
Meryl Streep, “The Post” — And then there’s Meryl. The indomitable acting legend extended her nomination record to 21 this year with “The Post,” in which she plays “The Washington Post” publisher Katharine Graham. This is the first time Streep has been nominated for a Best Picture nominee since 1985 with “Out of Africa,” so there may be more strength behind her than in other years. She is more restrained here than in any of her recent nominations, playing Kay Graham with a measured confidence with hints of uncertainty, so voters could be impressed by seeing her acting prowess in a refreshing light. Plus, let’s face it, there may be more than a few voters who want to stick it to Donald Trump after calling her “over-rated” last year.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.