5 reasons why Frances McDormand could pull another Oscar surprise with nomination for ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’

Double, double toil and Oscar trouble.
Can Frances McDormand break the Best Actress bubble?
What bloody man is that, who would make such a prediction?
Is it based on fact, or Shakespearean fiction?
Be bloody, bold and resolute.
And when analyzing the derby, awards-astute.
Screw your courage to the sticking place.
Realize that McDormand can indeed make the race.
And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
Not before reading these five reasons why.

1. She’s bloody Frances McDormand.
There’s nothing more to be said. The academy has shown that it loves this woman in a way that it loves few others. She has now been nominated six times in five consecutive decades. And she’s gone three for three in her Best Actress bids. She earned her inaugural victory for 1996’s “Fargo” – despite appearing in less than one-third of the film and facing stiff competition from Brenda Blethyn in “Secrets and Lies.” The second came for 2017’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” She started by defeated Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water” and Meryl Streep in “The Post” at the Golden Globes, before sweeping every major award culminating with the Oscar. And of course, last year she pulled off one of the biggest Best Actress upsets in history when she prevailed for “Nomadland.” She was a distant fourth place in the Gold Derby odds, far behind Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman,” Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Andra Day in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Most of us thought that the academy would see little reason to reward McDormand again so soon. And we were wrong. Confusion now hath made his masterpiece. What’s done cannot be undone. Let us not underestimate McDormand again.

2. She delivers a rich, dramatic performance in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
Her triumph for “Nomadland” was particularly puzzling because the part didn’t seem like much of a stretch for her. Her character, Fern, could have been a cousin to Frances. There was no amazing physical transformation. No difficult accent. No colossal, over-the-top scenework. Yet she still won. Nothing is but what is not. Meanwhile, her interpretation of Lady Macbeth might be considered one of her most masterful performances in years. She commands Shakespeare’s dialogue with near-perfect precision. Some argue that her screen time is too limited. But when she does appear, she devours and dominates with her delivery of Lady Macbeth’s mammoth monologues. She looks like the innocent flower, but is the serpent under it. And if it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly. Voters may smell the blood and nominate her again with one fell swoop.

3. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” will be a major Oscar player.
So far this awards season, most of its awards focus has been on Denzel Washington for his portrayal of the title character. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” currently teeters in 10th place in the official Gold Derby odds. I’ll make assurance double sure and assure you that “Tragedy” will be one of the 10 Best Picture selections. The film has received glowing reviews, with a 94% “Certified Fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. That matches the critical reception of Oscar frontrunner “The Power of the Dog.” Washington is undoubtedly in for Best Actor. Citations for Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design and Production Design all appear plausible. And a Directing nom for Joel Coen isn’t out of the question. His work has often been embraced by the academy. His films (many of them collaborations with brother Ethan) have reaped an outstanding 39 Academy Award nominations. That includes a Best Picture win for 2007’s “No Country for Old Men” and bids for 1996’s “Fargo,” 2009’s “A Serious Man” and 2010’s “True Grit.” To sum it up, two truths are told. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” has received widespread acclaim, and the academy often commends Coen. That means that McDormand’s Lady Macbeth could push another lady out of a damned spot for Best Actress.

4. Triple acting Oscar winners have always gotten nominated again.
McDormand is one of seven people to bear such a charmed life. One might think that after gifting someone three statuettes, the academy would strive to be fair by spreading the wealth. But fair is foul and foul is fair. After winning his third Best Supporting Actor award for 1940’s “The Westerner,” Walter Brennan was immediately invited back for 1941’s “Sergeant York.” Ingrid Bergman mysteriously received her third trophy for 1974’s “Murder on the Orient Express.” She boarded the Oscar express soon after, with a Best Actress nom for 1978’s “Autumn Sonata.” Katharine Hepburn triumphed a third time for 1968’s “The Lion in Winter” (famously tying with Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl.”) Hepburn roared back to the Oscars in the 1981 sweepstakes, famously taking the gold for an unprecedented fourth time for “On Golden Pond.” It looked like it was “As Good as It Gets” when Jack Nicholson accepted his third honor for that 1997 film. But he was back five years later with a Best Actor bid for “About Schmidt.” More recently, Streep finally collected her third Oscar for 2011’s “The Iron Lady.” Despite the Streep fatigue, 2013’s “August: Osage County,” 2016’s “Florence Foster Jenkins” and 2017’s “The Post” posted her three more Best Actress bids. And after his third Best Actor election for 2012’s “Lincoln,” Daniel Day-Lewis had to tuxedo up again, thanks to 2017’s “Phantom Thread.” So if history is any judge, we should expect that McDormand will return to the Oscars. A falcon, towering in her pride of place.

5. She’s bound to get a healthy share of #1 votes.
And that is the key to securing an Oscar nomination. Given how bewitched voters are by Frances, we can expect that plenty in the Actors Branch will rank her first. Will she collect enough to crack the category? That I don’t know. But it’s a very real possibility. Consider some of the surprise acting contenders that we’ve seen in recent years (or at least, some who were far from sure things.) Javier Bardem in “Biutiful.” Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour.” Quvenzhané Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night.” Laura Dern in “Wild.” Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years.” Lesley Manville in “Phantom Thread.” Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity’s Gate.” Marina de Tavira in “Roma.” Jonathan Pryce in “The Two Popes.” They were all arguably passion picks, and that passion is what got them nominated. What, can the devil speak true? McDormand’s Macbeth may cast another spell on Oscar, boiling her way into the Best Actress cauldron.

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