“The Shape of Water” is one of two Best Picture Oscar nominees with three acting nominations — the other being “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — but star Sally Hawkins and supporting players Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins are not predicted to win any of them. If they indeed go 0-3 on Sunday and “The Shape of Water” takes the top prize, the fantasy drama will join eight other Best Picture champs that did not convert any of its three-plus acting nominations into wins.
“Birdman” (2014) was the most recent Best Picture winner not to carry an acting award from at least three nominations, as Michael Keaton, Emma Stone and Edward Norton fell to Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”), Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”), respectively. Arquette and Simmons were the supporting frontrunners all season, but Keaton was locked in a tight Best Actor race with Redmayne until the SAG Awards tipped the scales in Redmayne’s favor. Before that, you’d have to go back to “Dances with Wolves” (1990). The eight are:
1. “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1935): 0-3 (Clark Gable, Charles Laughton and Franchot Tone lost Best Actor to Victor McLaglen for “The Informer”)
2. “Rebecca” (1940): 0-3 (Joan Fontaine lost Best Actress to Ginger Rogers for “Kitty Foyle”; Laurence Olivier lost Best Actor to James Stewart for “The Philadephia Story”; Judith Anderson lost Best Supporting Actress to Jane Darwell for “The Grapes of Wrath”)
3. “The Apartment” (1960): 0-3 (Shirley MacLaine lost Best Actress to Elizabeth Taylor for “BUtterfield 8”; Jack Lemmon lost Best Actor to Burt Lancaster for “Elmer Gantry”; Jack Kruschen lost Best Supporting Actor to Peter Ustinov for “Spartcaus”)
4. “Tom Jones” (1963): 0-5 (Albert Finney lost Best Actor to Sidney Poitier for “Lilies of the Field”; Hugh Griffith lost Best Supporting Actor to Melvyn Douglas for “Hud”; Diane Cilento, Edith Evans and Joyce Redman lost Best Supporting Actress to Margaret Rutherford for “The V.I.P.s”)
5. “Midnight Cowboy” (1969): 0-3 (Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight lost Best Actor to John Wayne for “True Grit”; Sylvia Miles lost Best Supporting Actress to Goldie Hawn for “Cactus Flower”)
6. “Rocky” (1976): 0-4 (Sylvester Stallone lost Best Actor to Peter Finch for “Network”; Talia Shire lost Best Actress to Faye Dunaway for “Network”; Burgess Meredith and Burt Young lost Best Supporting Actor to Jason Robards for “All the President’s Men”)
7. “Dances with Wolves” (1990): 0-3 (Kevin Costner lost Best Actor to Jeremy Irons for “Reversal of Fortune”; Mary McDonnell lost Best Supporting Actress to Whoopi Goldberg for “Ghost”; Graham Greene lost Best Supporting Actor to Joe Pesci for “Goodfellas”)
8. “Birdman” (2014): 0-3
Best Picture usually brings along an acting win — nine of this century’s winners have earned at least one trophy for their stars — since actors make up the academy’s largest voting branch and support from them can go a long way. Only 11 films have won Best Picture without a single acting nomination, a group “Dunkirk” will try to join this year.
Unfortunately for “Shape,” which was snubbed in SAG ensemble, thespians are backing “Three Billboards,” which is now the fourth film to win three SAG awards, including wins for Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Spencer and Jenkins are longshots to upset Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and Rockwell in the supporting races, but Hawkins was a Best Actress favorite during the critics half of the season before the McDormand steamroller took over. Hawkins is in third in our predictions behind McDormand and Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”).
But this is all a moot point if “Shape” doesn’t win Best Picture. It had been sitting pretty in the No. 1 spot for more than a month, but “Three Billboards” just dethroned it this week.
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