Richard Roeper’s Oscar predictions: Look for 3 wins for ‘Three Billboards …’

SHARE Richard Roeper’s Oscar predictions: Look for 3 wins for ‘Three Billboards …’
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Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand are Oscar front-runners in their categories for their work in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” | Fox Searchlight

You can’t legally wager on the Academy Awards in these United States, but whether it’s American bookmakers handicapping the races just for fun or the overseas oddsmakers setting the line for actual wagering purposes, the overwhelming consensus is all four acting categories are locked up.

Best actress? Frances McDormand is about a 1/8 favorite to win her second Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” nearly two decades after her victory for “Fargo.” (That 1/8 figure means you’d have to bet $8 on McDormand just to win a buck.)

But wait! Let’s not forget how Oscar loves to crown twentysomething actresses in this category, e.g., Audrey Hepburn (“Roman Holiday”), Grace Kelly (“The Country Girl”), Gwyneth Paltrow (“Shakespeare in Love”), Brie Larson (“Room”). Could 23-year-old Saoirse Ronan of “Lady Bird” steal the moment?

In the best actor category, Gary Oldman is an even bigger favorite for his powerful work as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” with some bookmakers listing him as a 1/20 favorite.

Gary Oldman (center) stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour.” | Focus Features

Gary Oldman (center) stars as Winston Churchill in director Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour.” | Focus Features

Ah, but what if there’s a groundswell of support for Daniel Kaluuya and “Get Out”? After all, the Academy membership is younger and more diverse than in previous years. You don’t need a majority of votes to win the Oscar; you just need to get one more vote than any of the other four candidates.

Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards …”) has won the vast majority of the supporting actor accolades leading up the Oscars, but you can’t count out the popular veteran actor Willem Dafoe — or how about Christopher Plummer, the 88-year-old lion who so admirably and wonderfully stepped in to the role of J. Paul Getty in “All the Money in the World”?

And while Allison Janney is the favorite to win supporting actress for “I, Tonya,” it’s not inconceivable the brilliant and well-liked Laurie Metcalf could take home Oscar if this turns out to be a “Lady Bird” kind of night.

Ah. I’m still going with the favorites in my Oscar predictions, but I’m just hedging my bets — I mean, I’m giving you a few upset scenarios in case you want to get a little adventurous with your office or family & friends ballot.

My picks in the 24 televised categories:

BEST PICTURE: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

“The Shape of Water” remains the favorite, and if I had just $1 to bet, I’d probably go with it — but I’m sticking with the best film of 2017, which I believe will only continue to gain respect in the years and decades to come.

The only other films with a realistic shot at best picture are “Lady Bird” and “Get Out.”

Guillermo del Toro poses at the Directors Guild of America awards, where he was honored for making the year’s best film. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Guillermo del Toro poses at the Directors Guild of America awards, where he was honored for making the year’s best film. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

BEST DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Upset contender: Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk.” It’s hard to believe this is Nolan’s first nomination. He probably won’t win this year, but there’s a best director Oscar (or two) in his future.

BEST ACTRESS: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards …”

Fifteen minutes into this film, I was convinced McDormand would be nominated and would most likely win best actress.

BEST ACTOR: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

See above.

If Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t already have three best actor wins, there might be more discussion about his phenomenal performance in “Phantom Thread.”

Allison Janney as LaVona Golden in “I, Tonya.” | NEON

Allison Janney as LaVona Golden in “I, Tonya.” | NEON

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Three of the nominees (Janney, Metcalf and Mary J. Blige) in this category play mothers involved in various degrees of heavy drama, one (Lesley Manville) plays a sister who might as well be a mother to her fussy brother, and the fifth (Octavia Spencer) is a maid who is a wonderful friend and a long-suffering wife.

There’s a LOT of supporting going on with these supporting actress characters.

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards …”

Spoiler alert! Critics of “Three Billboards …” often cite the arc of Rockwell’s Dixon, who goes from hateful, racist sociopath to a near-heroic character.

I get that. It’s a leap and then some. But you know what? Sometimes that sort of thing actually that happens in real life, and given the pitch-black comedic tone and sometimes over-the-top plot machinations of “Three Billboards …,” Dixon’s rebirth was fine by me

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Get Out”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Call Me By Your Name”

Oftentimes the screenplay categories are a great way for the Academy to honor films that might fall short in the best picture and best director categories.

CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Blade Runner 2049”

This is Roger Deakins’ 14th nomination for best cinematography. Come on, Academy. It’s time for Mr. Deakins to finally win.

Keala Settle is the singer of “This Is Me,” the Oscar-nominated song from the musical “The Greatest Showman.” | 20TH CENTURY FOX

Keala Settle is the singer of “This Is Me,” the Oscar-nominated song from the musical “The Greatest Showman.” | 20TH CENTURY FOX

SONG: “This is Me”

While we’ve been focusing our attentions elsewhere, the razzle-dazzle musical “The Greatest Showman” has quietly earned nearly $150 million in domestic box office and another $167 million in the international market.

I loved the animated musical adventure “Coco,” but the signature ballad, “Remember Me,” featured over and over and OVER in the movie, is utterly forgettable. It’s likely “Remember Me” will win, but I’m rooting for “This is Me” and I think it has at least an outside chance.

DOCUMENTARY: “Faces Places”

ANIMATED FEATURE: “Coco”

PRODUCTION DESIGN: “The Shape of Water”

COSTUMES: “Phantom Thread”

EDITING: “Dunkirk

SOUND EDITING: “Dunkirk”

SOUND MIXING: “Dunkirk”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Fantastic Woman”

VISUAL EFFECTS: “Blade Runner 2049”

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION): “DeKalb Elementary”

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED): “Lou”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “Edith + Eddie”

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “Darkest Hour”

ORIGINAL SCORE: “The Shape of Water”

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