2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Supporting Role

oscar allison janney
Allison Janney in ‘I, Tonya’

2018 Oscar Nominees

Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)

Who Will Win?

The easiest contenders to exclude from the five would be Spencer and Manville.

Despite giving an unsurprisingly good performance, Spencer’s turn as Zelda, a research facility janitor and side-kick to Sally Hawkins’s Elisa in The Shape of Water is a predictable one. The Oscar-winning actress seems to take on roles that are variations of each other, and that sense of familiarity won’t bode well with voters for its lack of originality. I would love to see Spencer lead a film for a change and show a new side of her talent instead of the routine cynical, loyal friend archetype (think The Help and Hidden Figures). Until then, Spencer will have to wait for a chance at more Oscar gold.

More Predications: 2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Actress in a Leading Role

Manville’s Cyril is an uptight and controlling sister to her genius dressmaker brother Reynolds (played by Daniel Day-Lewis in his final film role) in Phantom Thread. And while the film has done surprisingly well with Academy voters, garnering a few unexpected nominations (including Manville’s), the actress did not make a lot of buzz in precursor awards, significantly affecting her chances at a win. And with two brilliant leading performances in the film, Manville’s is less a point of conversation when discussing the film. It’s safe to say she will leave the Dolby Theatre with no Oscar in sight.

oscar mary j blige mudbound
Mary J. Blige in ‘Mudbound’

One of her first major acting ventures, Blige has made history as the first person to be nominated for an acting award and for a songwriting award (for Mighty River) for her work in Mudbound, the Dee-Rees-directed story of overcoming. And while she’s been praised by a number of critics and has scored SAG and Golden Globe, Mudbound lacks key nominations in major categories, and doesn’t have much of a shot in the other categories it was nominated for, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Blige’s performance flies under the radar as well.

The race to the Best Actress Oscar has always been between Janney and Metcalf. While Metcalf was initially the frontrunner for the win for her performance as a loving but strict mother in Lady Bird, Janney slowly crept into the race and stole the show with her brilliant turn as a nightmare of a mother in I, Tonya. Despite Janney sweeping every precursor award thus far, many still believe in Metcalf’s (now nearly depleted if you ask me) chances.

Read More: Full List of 90th Academy Award Nominees

oscar laurie metcalf lady bird
Laurie Metcalf (Left) in ‘Lady Bird’

The only thing I see coming in the way of Janney’s win is that her character, LaVona, is a supremely unlikable one. The more the film progresses, the more off-putting she gets, and some voters will take note of that. It’s a lot easier to vote for a character you loved and resonated with — like Metcalf’s — than one you despised. That being said, Janney herself is admired in the industry and has been campaigning like there’s no tomorrow, while Metcalf has been rather absent from the scene. This will ultimately give Janney the leverage she needs to go the distance.

The Verdict

Who will win: Allison Janney

Who should win: Allison Janney

Honourary Mention: Laurie Metcalf

The 90th Academy Awards will air on March 4, 2018 (and March 5 at 3:00 AM in Lebanon).

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