Three Billboards, Shape of Water to Battle It Out for Best Picture Oscar

oscars movies

Martin Green

Thursday, March 1, 2018 9:14 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 1, 2018 9:14 PM UTC

Hollywood’s greatest stars will be crowned at the 90th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Best Picture looks set to boil down to a straight fight between Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water. 

Hollywood’s greatest stars will be crowned at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday night. Best Picture looks set to boil down to a straight fight between Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and The Shape of Water. There are heavy favorites in each of the acting categories, while Guillermo del Toro looks a lock for Best Director. A lot of the technical categories are also dominated by a massive favorite, but intrigue lies in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song.

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the Oscars this year, and more than 30 million people are due to tune in for the big show (8 p.m. ET, ABC). Last year’s awards descended into an utter fiasco as an envelope mixup resulted in the wrong Best Picture winner being announced. The last few years have seen a two-horse race develop in the Best Picture stakes: Birdman beat Boyhood in 2016 and then Moonlight got the better of La La Land last year, after the error was cleared up. This time we are once again left with two standout movies that have a strong chance of seizing the big prize.

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Three Billboards has dominated the awards season so far, taking the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild ensemble prize. The Shape of Water has been similarly lauded by critics, and it was no surprise when both were nominated. However, it was the nominations for other categories that really got tongues wagging. Three Billboards creator Martin McDonagh missed out on a Best Director nod, leaving del Toro as the -1000 favorite with Bovada to land the award. The Shape of Water received 13 nominations, more than any other film, while Three Billboards managed seven. That left The Shape of Water, a genre-bending interspecies romance, as the favorite to win Best Picture.

But then all eyes turned to London for the BAFTAs, historically seen as a strong indicator of how the Oscars will pan out, and Three Billboards triumphed once more. The odds shifted again, and Three Billboards is now the -115 favorite with Bovada, while The Shape of Water is out at +140. The next movie in the line, Get Out, is +550. The Oscars has a recent history of going against the grain, as Boyhood had a lot of momentum, only to be pipped by Birdman, and the same was true of La La Land last year, so do not write off The Shape of Water just yet.

Frances McDormand gives an incendiary performance as a vengeful mother in Three Billboards, and she has reigned supreme during the awards season. She has won everything so far, and she is -1200 bookmakers like William Hill and Ladbrokes to win Best Actress. Gary Oldman is an even heavier favorite to win Best Actor for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Some may fancy long shots on actors like Timothee Chalamet and Margot Robbie, but it is really hard to see anyone stopping McDormand and Oldman now.

Sam Rockwell is cruising to victory in the Best Supporting Actor category, and Allison Janney is in a similar position for Best Supporting Actress. With so many categories already looking like a foregone conclusion -– Blade Runner 2049 is -800 for Best Cinematography, Coco is -500 for Best Animated Feature, Phantom Thread is -900 for Best Costume Design, Dunkirk is -400 for Best Film Editing, Darkest Hour is -1000 for Best Makeup, while all the acting categories look sewn up -– it could lead to a subdued atmosphere during the ceremony.

Apart from Best Picture, the only categories that look in any way close are Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song. Remember Me from Coco is -160 to win the latter, but This Is Me from The Greatest Showman looks like a good bet at +150. Get Out is currently the -200 favorite to land Best Original Screenplay, but McDonagh delivered an electrifying script for Three Billboards and odds of +185 with Bovada look great on it springing an upset in this category. That would make up for McDonagh’s snub in the Best Picture stakes and for a potential victory for The Shape of Water in the Best Picture category.

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