Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is the new favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars in two weeks’ time. It won the Bafta at the weekend and instantly leapfrogged The Shape of Water to become the new frontrunner with the sportsbooks to claim the big prize at the Academy Awards. Three Billboards has enjoyed an extremely strong awards season and scooped the big prizes at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors. But it was lagging behind in the Oscars betting because director Martin McDonagh did not get a Best Director nod, while The Shape of Water’s Guillermo del Toro did.
However, the Bafta win has convinced the oddsmakers that Three Billboards should now be the frontrunner. Check Youwager for latest odds on the Oscars and you will see that Three Billboards has become the clear favorite, with The Shape of Water now back at the +150 mark. The rest of the contenders are massive underdogs and it looks like developing into a straight fight between these two. Three Billboards reigned supreme at the 71 st British Academy Film Awards at the weekend, walking off with Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Actress for Frances McDormand and Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell.
McDonagh framed the movie in the current political climate: “Our film is a hopeful one in lots of ways, but it’s also an angry one, and as we’ve seen this year, sometimes anger is the only way to get people to listen and to change. What I’m most proud of, especially in this Time’s Up year, is it is a film about a woman who refuses to take any more shit.” That could be a timely nudge to the Oscars committee ahead of the Academy Awards, which take place on March 4 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Jimmy Kimmel is hosting this year’s ceremony and he will have to walk a thin line between comedy and poignancy, in the context of the sexual abuse scandal raging through Hollywood. The awards season has created a tremendous amount of buzz and excitement so far, but the Oscars is the big one and it will be a gripping spectacle. McDormand has dominated the season so far and she is the clear favorite to add the Oscar to her bulging trophy cabinet. She gives a magnificent performance as a vengeful, bereaved mother in Three Billboards. Saoirse Ronan is
a strong contender, but she is highly unlikely to overhaul McDormand, who last won an Oscar for her portrayal of a pregnant detective in Fargo.
Gary Oldman has been similarly dominant throughout the awards season for his take on Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, and the Englishman is an even heavier favourite in the Best Actor stakes. It would be the first of his career, and it would be a great achievement as there have been some exceptional performances from the likes of Timothee Chamolet and Daniel Day Lewis this year. The latter is retiring after a long and glorious career and it would have been fitting to end it with a fourth Oscar, but Oldman has plenty of momentum and it will be hard to stop him now.
Rockwell also looks nailed on for the Best Supporting Actor category, while the odds on Allison Janney being named Best Supporting Actress also plummeted after she won the Bafta. Laurie Metcalf was expected to make a good fight of it for her role in Lady Bird, but Janney’s turn in I, Tonya has drawn a great deal of plaudits. The technical awards will be contested by The Shape of Water, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 and that will spark some intrigue, but the real interest will lie in seeing who will win out of Three Billboards and The Shape of Water. Organisers will just pray there is no repeat of last year’s fiasco, which saw La La Land announced as the winner when the gong had really gone to Moonlight. The last two ceremonies have seen the frontrunner usurped, with Moonlight vanquishing La La Land and Birdman getting the better of Boyhood, so there is still hope for The Shape of Water.