OSCAR PREDICTIONS 2018: The male acting awards

(Image: hypable.com)

(Image: hypable.com)


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 sixth post, we look at the races for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.  As I say every year, stick with me and I will win you your Oscar pool! 


The nominees:  Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project, Woody Harrelson for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Richard Jenkins for The Shape of Water, and Christopher Plummer for All the Money in the World

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  28- Dafoe, 19- Rockwell, and four others with one win

Who was snubbed:  The final five are fairly solid, where maybe Woody Harrelson piling on the parade for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the one excessive nominee.  If you open that spot, a flood of little personal favorites could have gained that token nomination.  For many, Michael Stuhlbarg's final monologue to his son in Call Me By Your Name is the stuff of Oscar dreams.  I would have loved seeing Ray Romano get a little love from The Big Sick or Bryan Cranston from Last Flag Flying.  I think a Patrick Stewart nod from Logan would have been lovely as well.

Happy to be there:  Everyone not named Rockwell or Dafoe should be happy to be there.  Those two gentlemen have absolutely swept the overwhelming majority of possible awards for this category.  Happiest of all, yet wholly deserving, is Christopher Plummer honored for saving the day with the late casting replacement for All the Money in the World.  What that man did in a few weeks work is better than some of these nominees did in months living and breathing their characters.

Who should win:  At the beginning of this awards cycle, Willem Dafoe was winning everything in sight for his kind-hearted landlord in The Florida Project.  My affection for his role hasn’t wavered.  His touching performance was his best in years, and possibly his entire career.  However, somewhere along the way, the affections changed for him with all of the other voters in one of the oddest momentum shifts I’ve ever seen doing this Oscar tracking.

Who will win:  The best of Willem Dafoe is going to lose to Sam Rockwell of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  The loose cannon cop he played was a dramatic departure for normally energetic actor and he nailed it in a movie that has been igniting social commentary torches since its debut.  Dafoe still has a shot to close out a win that the data says should be his, but the SAG Award precursor is too big to ignore for Rockwell.   


The nominees:  Timothée Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name, Daniel Day-Lewis for Phantom Thread, Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour, Daniel Kaluuya for Get Out, and Denzel Washington for Roman J. Israel, Esq.

AWARDS TRACKER DATA:  22- Oldman, 12- Chalamet, 7- James Franco for The Disaster Artist, 6- Kaluuya, 4- Lewis, 2- Harry Dean Stanton for Lucky, and seven others with one win

Who was snubbed:  Personally, I believe the two top snubs above other bigger names came from very unexpected places.  There first would have been a posthumous honor for the late Harry Dean Stanton and his impeccable performance in the little-seen gem Lucky.  I know not enough voters likely saw the film, but I figured veteran favor gave him a shot.  The second would have been honoring the true craft of Andy Serkis on display underneath the performance capture effects of War for the Planet of the Apes.  In my opinion, too many older voters don’t understand or get that he is there physically emoting and acting in every scene.  After those two, the supposed bigger names not to make the field are James Franco for The Disaster Artist and Tom Hanks for The Post.  Franco, despite his share of negative headlines, is the bigger snub to Hanks mailing in an easy Everyman performance.

Happy to be there:  It’s great to see the youth here from two first-time nominees in Timothée Chalamet and Daniel Kaluuya.  At 22 and 29 respectively, they represent the promises of the future.  I know it’s often overused and nothing is ever certain, but both get the “he’ll be back” pat-on-the-back with the hope of continued good careers.

Who should win and will win:  I know this sort of reeks from the outside looking in as an overall resume win for an overdue actor like Gary Oldman, but he really did assert himself extremely well as Sir Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.  It was a masterful performance from a veteran of the craft who understood and delivered every layer of performance from small nuances to powerful peaks.  Resume aside, he earned this Oscar coming his way after what feels like a decade of cashing paychecks in bad films.