In a shift from the conventional phenomenon of the Oscars sweep, this year’s ceremony is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable yet. For the elusive Best Picture nominations which are currently dividing critics, choices range from The Shape of Water and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to the wildcard nominee of Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
The awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress are equally diverse categories this year. For the former, the diversity of roles ranges from Willem Dafoe in The Florida Project, to corrupt billionaire Christopher Plummer in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World. For the latter nominations, Mary J. Blige sets the milestone for being the first woman to be nominated for both the acting accolade and ‘Best Original Song’ (‘Mighty River’) for her contributions to Mudbound, As is the case with both categories, the award is is anyone’s game.
For the supporting actor category, the attention given to independent films is expectedly small, with Willem Dafoe’s nomination for The Florida Project being the only recognition.In a favourable decision, Richard Jenkins marks his place in the thirteen nominations obtained by Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water. The equally successful Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was also highly favoured, and received two nominations for Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, respectively. While these roles adhere to director Martin McDonagh’s charismatic drama, film fans were quick to note the snubs of other actors deserving of a nomination - for example, Armie Hammer missing out on a nomination for his role in Call Me By Your Name. Further criticisms came for Christopher Plummer’s role as John Paul Getty in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in The World, a role that he was shoehorned into after sexual abuse allegations surrounded previous lead, Kevin Spacey.
Nonetheless, Sam Rockwell’s superbly comical role as the dim-witted police officer Dixon in Three Billboards that has him poised as the favourite; the actor has already received over ten awards for his part. Of these accolades the Golden Globe usually puts them in line for more wins come the Awards evening; I see this year as no exception.
In a similarly impressive run of form, Allison Janney has been dwarfing fellow nominees in recent Oscar precursors for her role as Tony Harding’s dominating mother, LaVona Golden. In a category which sees some particularly subsidiary roles being recognised, such as Octavia Spencer’s role in The Shape of Water, Janney stands out in her balanced performance between villainy and comedy.
In a successful year for online streaming heavyweight Netflix, Mary J. Blige’s nomination for her role as pain-stricken mother, Florence, fits with the Academy’s acknowledgement of Dee Rees’ epic, Mudbound. Furthemore, despite the equally compassionate
maternal performance coming from Laurie Metcalf in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. Janney’s performance strikes me as one which will see her grab the upcoming BAFTA and Academy Awards. Much like Rockwell, Janney’s recent success at the Golden Globe awards establishes any other potential result as a sure upset.