This year's Academy Awards, which are hosted again by Jimmy Kimmel, hope to shine a spotlight on the best films of 2017 during a time of intense controversy within the industry. The #MeToo movement has dominated all discussions regarding entertainment in the past few months thanks to the silence breakers who came forward with assault allegations against Hollywood’s biggest names, including James Franco, Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein. With the political and social nature of awards season in mind, it’s time to figure out who will win the top prizes and the nominees who truly deserve them.
Who will win: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Who should win: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
The directing category is filled with the most exciting group of nominees the Academy has to acknowledge. Guillermo del Toro is expected to take the prize having claimed directing honors from the DGA, BAFTAs and Golden Globes. Regardless of the almost certain win for del Toro, first time nominees Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig certainly put up a fight. Gerwig becomes only the fifth woman ever to receive a nomination in the category for her heartfelt creation, “Lady Bird,” while Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is an excellent and uncommon example of an artist successfully transitioning between genres with “Get Out.” However, Christopher Nolan’s attention to detail and technical mastery displayed in “Dunkirk” — along with a plethora of critically acclaimed films on his résumé — make him the most deserving in the end.
Best Supporting Actress
Who will win: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Who should win: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Allison Janney is an excellent example of a character actor who has devoted her career to playing eccentric and unique side characters as opposed to leading roles. She is the definition of a supporting actress, and her short, yet captivating performance as Tonya Harding’s abusive mother in “I, Tonya” will earn her the golden accolade over her fellow nominees. Unfortunately, Mary J. Blige, Lesley Manville and Octavia Spencer are practically throwaway nominations in an uncrowded category. Laurie Metcalf manages to stand out with a beautiful performance alongside Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird,” but the Oscar for Janney is a celebration of an impressive résumé and less dependent on one role specifically.
Best Supporting Actor
Who will win: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Who should win: Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is this year’s film to beat in the supporting actor category. The film relies heavily on its three main characters, but Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson rarely demand the screen for themselves against Frances McDormand. Rockwell has consistently taken the lead over other nominees, which includes Willem Dafoe and Christopher Plummer. In my opinion, Richard Jenkins gives a criminally underrated performance as the voice and conscience of Sally Hawkins’ mute character in “The Shape of Water,” but he unfortunately won’t be able to claim his rightful place as an Oscar winner.
Who will win: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Who should win: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Frances McDormand previously won the Oscar for Best Actress back in 1996 for “Fargo,” but that will not stop her from grabbing another. McDormand has already won the Critics’ Choice, SAG, Golden Globe and BAFTA in this category, making her the one to beat. Margot Robbie, Meryl Streep and Sally Hawkins have been unable to gain momentum for a possible upset, which leaves Saoirse Ronan as the only one who can possibly steal the award. Ronan gives the most nuanced and challenging performance out of the group, and her Golden Globe win for Lead Actress in a Comedy/Musical will hopefully warrant a change of plans for Academy voters.
Who will win: Gary Oldman, “The Darkest Hour”
Who should win: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Prior to late-December, James Franco was the man to beat in this category for “The Disaster Artist.” Unfortunately, the mighty must fall when multiple sexual assault allegations found their way toward the actor and snubbed him of a nomination entirely. In his place, Gary Oldman has taken over the mantle as the Oscar favorite — despite also being accused of sexual assault. While his demanding and transformative performance as Winston Churchill will win him the top prize, newcomer Timothée Chalamet deserves to steal it away. “Call Me by Your Name” effortlessly showcased Chalamet as one of the best young stars working today, and I can almost guarantee that he’ll be back to claim an Oscar trophy in the future.
Who will win: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Who should win: “The Shape of Water”
Similar to last year’s close-fought battle between “La La Land” and “Moonlight,” this year’s Best Picture category has two clearly defined frontrunners. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is an actor’s showcase that tells the story of a grieving mother’s fight against a negligent police force: It plays like the direct result of a #MeToo Hollywood. “The Shape of Water” contrasts as a product of old Hollywood that manages to depict a romantic relationship between human and creature. Although it’s too close to call a definitive winner, “Three Billboards” has been this year’s award show favorite across the board, ultimately giving it an advantage for the top prize.
For the full list of this year’s nominees and their respective categories, click here.