2018 Oscars: Lead Actress

Okay it’s February, which means it’s time to talk Oscars. The winter Olympics gives us an extra week this year, so my annual Oscar coverage will be coming to you Mondays and Thursdays from now until the big day on March 4. Then it’ll be time to put the blog on vacation for a bit and write something else for a while.

Next up…

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”

Who will win: Saoirse Ronan
Who could win: Frances McDormand
Who should win: Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Who should be here: Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”

Okay, let’s talk Jessica Chastain. How…HOW??…does she not get nominated for Molly’s Game? Granted, Aaron Sorkin wrote her an amazing character with a ton of different ways for her to show off her acting ability, everything from scene chewing to full on breakdowns. But it’s not every actor who can pull off Sorkin’s musical dialogue so effortlessly, and own every inch of the screen, while also making it all look so effortless. There’s no question in my mind that she should have WON that gold statue.

Yeah, I’m still irritated by that. Moving on…

From the early predictions and rankings, it would seem like Margot Robbie was the one who edged out Chastain for a spot in the Top 5, and if it can’t be the latter, it should definetely be the former. Tonya Harding is probably one of America’s greatest villains in athletics or anywhere else, and Robbie has changed her into something of a sympathetic character. Robbie’s Harding, like Chastain’s Molly Bloom, was raw, surprising, compelling and sympathetic. This one could be a career-defining performance for the Australian.

However it would seem that Robbie has only a slightly better chance at winning than Chastain. The race seems to be a two-headed one between Golden Globe winner for Best Actress in a Drama Frances McDormand and Golden Globe winner for Best Actress in a Comedy Saoirse Ronan. Of the two, McDormand would seem to have the inside track with more awards early in the season. However, Ronan’s role is more nuanced, and voters could be looking to get the relatively unheralded Lady Bird a bit more love, particularly with Sam Rockwell likely to take home the gold. Three Billboards has also taken a few hits with the overly politically correct as of late, which could be enough of a hinderance in what’s already a pretty tough race. In addition, McDormand also already has a statue on her mantle, and this is Ronan’s third nomination, AND she came close to winning for Brooklyn a couple years back.

Three nominations at 24? Welcome to the club, Saorise.