In a year filled with great films, there was a lot of room for actors and actresses to shine, and the competition for these five spots was undoubtedly tough, but if I’m to speak for myself, there was one very obvious snub here (sorry, Richard!): Michael Stuhlbarg for his work in Call Me By Your Name specifically, but also for The Shape of Water and The Post, all three of which are Best Picture nominees.
Stuhlbarg’s body of work this year was not only impressive, but also essential to each film he was in (less so The Post than the other two). From an understanding and loving father to a spy-turned-friend, the actor commanded the screen, ultimately delivering what I have time and time again called a scene for the film studies books.
The show, however, must go on, so let’s take a look at the five who made it through:
The Oscar Nominees:
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)
Who Will Win?
While The Shape of Water is adored by The Academy and is leading a strong campaign for Best Picture, it’s going to be a little harder for Richard Jenkins to gain the same sort of backing. The actor does a good enough job in his role, but in a sea of extremely memorable supporting performances that stole scenes vis-à-vis his charming but less impactful role, it’s fair to say he’ll fall to the bottom of the pack.
More Predictions: Oscars 2018: Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri boasts two nominees, which is both a virtue and a vice for the actors’ prospects at a win. While Sam Rockwell’s career-defining performance as a rotten, racist cop trying to fix his ways was always going to be leading the nominees (yes, even if Stuhlbarg was in the mix), the momentum of Three Billboards extended to Woody Harrelson, who also does a great job but is overshadowed by Rockwell and the film’s formidable lead, Frances McDormand. While this might cause Rockwell to lose some of his votes to Harrelson, the former still has a very good chance at claiming the Oscar tonight.
Things weren’t always in Rockwell’s favour, however. Early in the race, this was easily Willem Dafoe’s to lose. For his work in The Florida Project, the actor was revered and praised, with an overwhelming amount of critics favouring him for the win. But both the Academy’s lukewarm reception of the film and Rockwell’s unstoppable winning streak (not to mention Dafoe’s rather over-hyped performance) will make it extremely difficult for Dafoe to overpower him for the win, though he’ll remain close by in second place.
Rounding up the nominees in Christopher Plummer for his work in All the Money in the World. Late in 2017, amid sexual harassment scandals, Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey was virtually expelled from Hollywood. That led to him being replaced by Christopher Plummer a mere month and a half before the film’s release. But Plummer, who needlessly proves his caliber at 88, stepped in and re-shot Spacey’s scenes in nine days. And if that isn’t reason enough to give the actor an Oscar nod, then his great performance is.
Plummer’s feat is at the core of his Oscar campaign, but a win will be difficult without proper support from the film. It’s possible for him to claim it, especially as a result of the socially and politically charged air of this awards season, but my educated deduction would be that the nomination was an ode to his career, the atmosphere of the year, and his achievement — there will be no Oscars in sight.
More Predictions: Oscars 2018: Best Actress in a Leading Role
Who will win: Sam Rockwell
Who should win: Sam Rockwell
Honourary Mention(s): Christopher Plummer (and Michael Stuhlbarg)