Three Billboards to be Big Winner at Oscars?

Matthew Jordan

Monday, February 26, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 12:21 PM UTC

The Academy Awards, the Super Bowl of entertainment, are Sunday and you can wager on which movie and actors will take home the golden statuette as easily as you put money down a few weeks ago on which team would hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the end of Super Bowl LII.

And let’s just say it now, the safest bet at the Oscars on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ABC), which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, is that there won’t be a snafu with the Best Picture envelope thanks to new protocols now in place after “Bonnie and Clyde” stars Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway last year announced the wrong winner. (For the record, the winner was “Moonlight,” not “La La Land”).

“The Shape of Water,” writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s fairytale romance about a mute charwoman who falls for an amphibious “monster” in the military lab she cleans and works to set him free, garnered 13 nominations – the most of any film this year. But getting the most Oscar nominations doesn’t necessarily translate into winning. We’re looking at you “The Color Purple” (1985) – 11 nominations, 0 wins.

Let’s handicap the races in the top categories using the Bovada odds.

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Best Picture

Nine films are competing for the top prize, with the race possibly getting tighter between “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (-115) and “The Shape of Water” (+140), due to del Toro being named in a plagiarism lawsuit. It alleges “The Shape of Water” borrowed heavily from playwright Paul Zindel’s 1969 play “Let Me Hear You Whisper,” about a janitor who forms a bond with a dolphin and plots to kidnap the mammal to let it go.

Del Toro and Fox Searchlight deny the copyright infringement charges and question the timing of the suit that coincided with the start of Oscar voting, according to industry publication Variety.

Also in contention: social thriller “Get Out” (+550); coming-of-age film “Lady Bird” (+1400); war epic “Dunkirk” (+3300); gay romance “Call Me By Your Name” (+6600); political thriller “The Post” (+10,000); historical drama “The Darkest Hour” (+10,000); and fashionable period romance “Phantom Thread” (+10,000).

“Three Billboards,” about a mom seeking justice in her daughter’s murder, scored Best Picture wins at the Golden Globes and British Academy Film Awards plus the ensemble acting award from the Screen Actors Guild. “Shape of Water” won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture.

There have been few, if any, surprises in the acting categories with the same four artists winning at the major award shows. Though you might consider the race for Best Supporting Actor, where Willem Dafoe is a sentimental favorite.

Best Actor

Gary Oldman (-2500) appears to be the shoo-in for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hour.” At 22, this year’s youngest nominee, Timothee Chalamet (+1000, “Call Me by My Name”) is his closest competition. Also nominated, the now-retired Daniel Day Lewis (+150, “Phantom Thread”); Daniel Kaluuya (+1600, “Get Out”); and previous two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington (+3300, “Roman J. Israel Esq.”)

Best Actress

Winner for “Fargo” (1996), Frances McDormand (-1600, “Three Billboards”) has owned this category during awards’ season and there is no reason to think she won’t own it again Sunday. At 23, three-time Oscar nominee Saorise Ronan (+700, “Lady Bird”) will win eventually, but not this year. Also in contention, Sally Hawkins (+1400, “Shape of Water”); Margot Robbie (+2500, “I, Tonya”); and long shot and three-time winner Meryl Streep (+5000, “The Post”).

Best Supporting Actor

First-time nominee Sam Rockwell (-800, “Three Billboards”) is expected to win for playing a racist police officer, but one should never count out acting stalwart Dafoe (+450, “The Florida Project”). Other nominees include Richard Jenkins (+1600, “Shape of Water”); Christopher Plummer (+2000, “All The Money In the World”); and Woody Harrelson (+3300, “Three Billboards”).

Best Supporting Actress

Bad moms get the Academy’s attention and Allison Janney (-600, “I, Tonya”) will likely replace that parrot she wore on her shoulder playing ice skater Tonya Harding’s mother with a golden statuette. Another mom in the race, Laurie Metcalf (+400, “Lady Bird”) is a strong contender. Singer-actress Mary J. Blige (+1600, “Mudbound”); Lesley Manville (+2000, “Phantom Thread”); and Octavia Spencer (+1600, “Shape of Water”) should practice their best loser smiles.

Best Director

Odds are writer-director del Toro (-1000; “Shape of Water”) will take home the award his direction of the fantastical monster movie set in Cold War Baltimore, but with a lawsuit filed it may become a tighter race between he and Christopher Nolan (+600, “Dunkirk”). Greta Gerwig (+800, “Lady Bird”), is only the fifth woman nominated for this award; Jordan Peele (+3300, “Get Out”) is another first-time nominee; and Paul Thomas Anderson (+6600, “Phantom Thread”) with six previous Oscar nominations (one for directing “There Will Be Blood”) is a long way from sewing up this award.

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