Shh! Sally Hawkins (‘The Shape of Water’) could be next Oscar winner for a nonspeaking role

If Sally Hawkins ends up winning the Best Actress Oscar for playing mute janitor Elisa Esposito in Guillermo Del Toro‘s “The Shape of Water,” she would join an exclusive list of other performers to prevail for nonspeaking roles. Who are the other actors and actresses whose silence won over Oscar voters? Click through our photo gallery above to see the list, which includes Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” (2011), Holly Hunter in “The Piano” (1993) and Marlee Matlin in “Children of a Lesser God” (1986).

This is Hawkins’ second career Oscar nomination following her supporting bid for “Blue Jasmine” (2013). Gold Derby’s predictions now give the English actress 9/2 odds to win. That puts her behind frontrunners Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”), but ahead of Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”) and Meryl Streep (“The Post”). See more 2018 Oscar nominations.

SEE 2018 Oscar nominations: Full list of Academy Awards nominees in all 24 categories

“The Shape of Water” earned a whopping 13 Oscar noms this week and is now the default frontrunner for Best Picture. Interestingly, if “The Shape of Water” ends up prevailing in the top race, that would make it the first champion since “Million Dollar Baby” 13 years ago to be told from the female perspective. Other 2018 Best Picture nominees with strong female leads include “Three Billboards,” “Lady Bird” and “The Post.”

Might Hawkins be hurt by the other-wordly aspects of “The Shape of Water”? After all, Hawkins’ character falls in love with a sea creature. While on the surface that may seem a bit silly, Del Toro grounds the odd love affair in reality. As Elisa signs to her neighbor, played by Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins, “When he looks at me, he does not know how I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.”

PREDICT the Oscar winners now; change them until March 4

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.

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