Tomorrow night the 2017 Academy Awards will be presented. In today’s age of instant access to information, there aren’t many surprises. Usually there is one among the “big” awards like last year’s best picture that no one sees coming. With that in mind, here are my predictions as well as who I would choose if I were voting.
Best Picture: I think it will be ‘The Shape of Water” but “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” could squeak in. I liked both films, but the latter didn’t feel like an Oscar film. I loved “The Shape of Water”, but it has a lot of detractors. Some didn’t care for the fantasy of it. I thought it was a brilliant piece of film making.
Best Actor: Gary Oldman gives an amazing performance as Winston Churchill and deserves the Oscar. Please note, he is not one of my favorite actors, but he killed it in this film. There has been a lot of talk about Timothee Chalamet in “Call Me By Your Name”. His performance was quite good, very nuanced for such a young actor (He was 21 while filming it.), and in any other year he might win the prize, but Oldman is in a field by himself.
Best Actress: Frances McDomond has been racking up wins in many of the pre-Oscar races and she will probably take home the statue Sunday night (Or will it be Monday morning by the time they get around to giving it out?). In a performance that took no prisoners, she is fierce, determined and doesn’t give a damn what anybody else thinks. She is also an actress who has never given a bad performance in my mind. However, if I were voting, I would vote for Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water”. Her mute janitor was magical. She conveyed so many emotions without saying a word. I loved her performance. By the way, any of the five nominees could win and I wouldn’t be disappointed. They were all amazing.
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell deserves to win for “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri”. He is like a chamelion, always seamlessly transforming into the character he is playing. In this film he gave another great performance of a dislikable, complex character. His biggest competition is Willem Dafoe for “The Florida Project”. Dafoe is another one of those underrated actors who always gives a good performance. I didn’t care for the film and I have seen him do a better acting job in other films.
Best Supporting Actress: I am torn by the nominees in this category. Allison Janney has won most of the pre-Oscar awards for her mother-from-hell performance of Tanya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya”. I would not be disappointed if she won as I love Janney as an actress and she did an incredible job. She was the worst mother on film since Mo’Nique in “Precious”. On the other hand, I loved Laurie Metcalf’s mother in “Lady Bird”. She was real, funny, frustrated and loving while trying to raise a teenage daughter who just wants to get out. I really wish that Janney and Metcalf would tie because they were both gave wonderful performances on opposite ends of the spectrum of motherhood, but I think the former will win.
Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro will and should win for “The Shape of Water”. His mark is all over the film, from the story, that he co-wrote, to the color scheme, to the acting. And he did all of this in a film that was somewhat based in reality, but was really a fantasy. It was visually beautiful, interesting and different. His nearest competition wasn’t even nominated. Martin McDonagh, who wrote and directed “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” was overlooked by the Academy, in my opinion, unjustly. The only other director who might upset Del Toro could be Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk”. He is another artist who doesn’t know how to make a bad film. Directing the special effects and technical aspects of the film, while keeping the story going back and forth, was amazing. Still, I think Del Toro will win.
So there are my predictions for the top six categories. I have only been 100% right once in the last 20 years, so we’ll see.