OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2018: The female acting awards

  (Image: hypable.com)

(Image: hypable.com)

PART 5: THE FEMALE ACTING AWARDS

This year returning host Jimmy Kimmel gets to redeem himself and likely make seven or more Moonlight envelope flub jokes for the banner 90th Academy Awards.  With less than a week to go, let’s breakdown predictions.  Throughout the awards season, I’ve been tallying the minor and lead-up award winners in all of the Oscar categories on the 2018 Awards Tracker as a big source of my prognostication data. In this fifth post, we look at the races for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.  As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool!


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees:  Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird, Allison Janney for I, Tonya, Mary J. Blige for Mudbound, Lesley Manville for Phantom Thread, and Octavia Spencer for The Shape of Water

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  29- Metcalf, 18- Janney, 2- Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip, and four others win one win

Who was snubbed:  This is a category where three of these nominees were surprises.  Left out were Girls Trip's Tiffany Haddish, the supporting actress winner from the New York Film Critics Circle, and Holly Hunter, who had her best meaty role in years in The Big Sick.  Both were big enough contenders to make it to the Oscar level.  My personal snub pick comes from a more underseen film, but Tatiana Maslany from Stronger was extraordinary in a tough and touching stand-by-your-man role next to Jake Gyllenhaal.

Happy to be there:  Lesley Manville had been very low on most Oscar radars and not often nominated in this category before the Academy Award nominations.  She’s quite the presence in Phantom Thread yet lesser compared to other potential nominees.  With all due respect to Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, her engaging performance in The Shape of Water might as well have been a weaker photocopy of her winning work on The Help.  She was far better in that film and didn’t need or deserve this spot this year.

Who should win:  I know the term “heart and soul” can be overused, but Laurie Metcalf elevates Lady Bird from a teen satire to a truly powerful and resonating family dramedy.  What she conveyed in the range of silent expressions and terse reactions throughout Greta Gerwig’s film was emotional brilliance.  Other roles from the final five have their level of acid and bite, but no one packs the wallop of feels like hers.

Who will win:  Even though Metcalf is winning the overall data tally, I just don’t see her hanging on to win the big one, no matter how much it could still happen or how much I want her to.  Predicting with my head instead of my heart, the invisible tarot cards and tea leaves of trends say this Oscar is going to Allison Janney for I, Tonya.  I’m totally OK with that.  She was a ferocious riot in I, Tonya in a flashy and dedicated performance.  She and Metcalf have been in a two-horse race and someone has to lose. 


BEST ACTRESS

The nominees:  Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird, Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water, Margot Robbie for I, Tonya, and Meryl Streep for The Post

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  19- Hawkins, 19- McDormand, 12- Ronan, 5- Robbie, 2- Diane Kruger for In the Fade, and three others with one win

Who was snubbed:  If the haters who always want to rant about Meryl Streep getting nominated for every role she touches (even ones like this one that she completely deserves) traded her out, you could make small cases for two foreign language performances.  Diane Kruger was excellent in In the Fade and Danielle Vega was even better in A Fantastic Woman.  Either of those inclusions, especially Vega, would have made progressive waves.

Happy to be there:  I think these are the right finalists where no one is a hapless nominee.  Meryl Streep probably has the lowest odds to win, but I’m not one of those aforementioned haters.  Until she lowers her game, she’s always good enough to be here, and that’s an achievement, not an indictment.  

Who should win:  This is difficult with the immense talent of Saoirse Ronan maturing before our eyes from Brooklyn two years ago until now in Lady Bird, but the most commanding lead female performance I watched last year came from Margot Robbie in I, Tonya.  Holy cow, did she raise her game and impress!  She proved the “just a pretty face” naysayers wrong and killed it on every angle as the broken mess that is Tonya Harding.  

Who will win:  This is silly and antiquated, but I’m guessing more than a few hundred jealous old coot Oscar voters consider the 27-year-old Robbie and 23-year-old Ronan to be too young to win, even though this is remarkably Ronan’s third Oscar nomination of her career.  Repeating something I recited from the male award predictions last post, nothing is ever certain.  Wait too long and you’re giving makeup Oscars to these women when they’re in their forties for lesser roles.  Give it to them young when they deserve like Emma Stone last year. Frances McDormand and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the courageous firebrand that she has always been both on and off the screen.  McDormand is going to win this award even though Sally Hawkins has won just as many lead-up awards as she has.  McDormand, between the Golden Globe and the SAG, has simply won bigger ones and not carries more favor and clout.

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