Gold Derby has been interviewing several Oscar voters throughout February to find out their selections in the top eight categories for the 2018 Academy Awards. Now that voting has concluded, we can start exposing these secret ballots. Voter #1 is an acting branch member who has been a Screen Actors Guild Awards nominee and has been a star in multiple Best Picture Oscar nominees. The comments below in each category are part of the thought process in choosing these potential winners.
BEST PICTURE: “Dunkirk”
“Dunkirk” is a historic reminder that we can accomplish anything against forces that are against us if we work together for the common cause. At the heart of it, that’s what the movie says. Second place is “Get Out.” Third place is “Three Billboards.”
BEST DIRECTOR: Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)
The most challenging was Mr. del Toro even though I didn’t stay as engaged in the movie. That was the most ambitious. But our strongest connection to the audience is when we respect the truth that all humans are interconnected. When they find the hero’s journey relatable, then the audience will surrender and actually become the protagonist. I thought that was accomplished with “Get Out” more strongly than the others.
BEST ACTRESS: Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
The Mildred character was so beautifully blue collar and so humanly flawed. On the surface there’s a mother broken-hearted over her loss, but beneath the surface this woman is a hero with the intellectual capacity and the will to fight back with the risk of losing everything she has. That’s who women and mothers are.
BEST ACTOR: Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) or Daniel Kaluuya (“Get Out”); still being decided
Churchill was brash and very unlikable for the majority of the film. Then how Mr. Oldman turned an unlikable human being into a lovable, humane champion of the people was masterful. He turned it around in one scene, and that is craftsmanship at its finest. I thought Daniel Kaluuya’s execution of the Chris character was brilliant. How do you navigate racism when you’re determined to rise above it? You believe in your heart that you’re experiencing racism even though you’re told by all the people around you that your own instincts and intellect are betraying you. Mr. Kaluuya was wonderful and highly believable.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
I thought Allison Janney was magnificent. Her performance as Tonya Harding’s old prickly, mean-spirited, abusive mama is not the most subtle work in the lineup. But it’s arguably the most heart-wrenching and the most memorable. She was committed to it and was unafraid to be ugly.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Woody Harrelson (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”)
This is a tough one. I’ve narrowed down to the two men from “Three Billboards,” but it would be downright shameful to overlook Mr. Harrelson’s work with the unforgettable journey he took us on.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: James Ivory (“Call Me By Your Name”)
I liked the “Call Me By Your Name” screenplay because it’s such a dangerous journey to try and navigate and get an audience to go with you. A man with an underage boy… I wouldn’t have the nerve to write anything like that. I think James Ivory has nerves of steel.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Jordan Peele (“Get Out”)
I really liked “The Big Sick” a lot. Super loved “Get Out” and saw it six times at the theater because I couldn’t believe this journey that Jordan Peele took us on. It was such a powerful throwback to Hitchcock. “The Shape of Water” is more of a cartoon. I couldn’t suspend belief long enough to stay with Mr. del Toro’s movie.
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.