Will there be an upset? Best Acting Oscar Predictions for the 2018 Academy Awards

While the Best Picture race and many of the technical categories are hotly debated, the acting categories for the 2018 Academy Awards feel fairly straight forward.  I mostly like all the chosen nominees, but for those actors not recognized, check out my list of the Ten Best Performance from 2017 not nominated for an Academy Award.  All four of the frontrunners have won virtually every major award leading up to the big night. In the past few years there has always been one of the categories that is fairly competitive between two actors.  I’m not completely sure this year will be the same. However, if you truly want to win your Oscar pool, it’s no good playing it safe.  There is always a favorite that loses somewhere. The question is are you able to identify that spot?

Lead Actor:
Timothy Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Do we even need to break this category down?  Even those who didn’t see DARKEST HOUR are voting for Gary Oldman. Daniel Day-Lewis is always great and it is very sad if this truly is his last performance like he claims (I don’t buy it).  Daniel Kaluuya is fantastic in GET OUT and Timothée Chalamet clearly has a bright future ahead of him.  Despite what people have said, Denzel Washington absolutely deserves the nomination over James Franco, but neither were particularly award worthy.  Gary Oldman has won every major award leading up to the Oscars and he has finally received the role to earn him that long over due award.

Winner: Gary Oldman, DARKEST HOUR

Darkest Hour

Lead Actress:
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

If this is a SHAPE OF WATER night, Sally Hawkins could sneak a win.  Saoirse Ronan has an outside shot as well.  I’m frustrated Meryl Streep was recognized again when there were plenty of other better female performances that went unnoticed.  This should be another slam dunk for the always amazing  and well deserving performance from Frances McDormand.

Winner: Frances McDormand, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri

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

Things always get trickier in the supporting category as that is where the major upset usually occurs.  I absolutely loved Willem Dafoe’s performance in THE FLORIDA PROJECT but as the only nomination for the film, I think that hinders his chances.  Christopher Plummer has already won one but his performance could get extra support because of the effort the film took to replace Kevin Spacey.  Voters could use that platform as a way to support and signify a change in the sexual harassment attitude that currently plagues Hollywood.  I also think Richard Jenkins could ride the wave of support for THE SHAPE OF WATER while simultaneously being a respected older actor who has never won before.  As soon as I saw THREE BILLBOARDS I knew both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell would be nominated.  I’m sticking with the favorite here. But I’m going to be fairly disappointed if Jenkins pulls out the upset – not because he doesn’t deserve it, but because I didn’t have the guts to go for it.

Winner: Sam Rockwell, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri

Supporting Actress:
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

This is the other acting category for a potential upset.  There’s almost always one in the acting categories. Trying to decide which one is the challenging part.  Like everyone else, I love Allison Janney, but I thought the performance was just a fun exaggeration.  Janney was perfect for the dark comedy but the role simply wasn’t challenging enough and was a bit too one note to deserve the award in my opinion. Frankly, I’ve been surprised by her support.  I’m hoping the more nuanced performance from Laurie Metcalf and the fact that LADY BIRD may not find a win anywhere else will propel Metcalf here.  I’m going out on a limb with great hesitation and picking an upset over Allison Janney who has virtually won every other award.  If Janney wasn’t so darn talented and lovable, this would be a lot easier. The industry loves her so this could be a foolish mistake. But from day one, I thought Metcalf was going to deservedly win and I’m going to stick with that initial reaction.

Upset Winner: Laurie Metcalf, LADYBIRD

Oscar Predictions for the eighteen other categories in the 2018 Academy Awards: And the Oscar goes to…

Best Picture Breakdown with no clear winner for the 2018 Academy Awards: Who will win?

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