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Oscar 2018 Predictions & Snubs- Best Lead Actor/Actress

by Jonah Reilly

Columns Editor

The season of golden statues and obscure films that a handful of people have seen has come again. As we all know, only losers and low-lifes watch all of the movies, and only bigger losers and lower-lifes write articles about them. So, once I finished watching the extensive list of movies that earned a nod, and prepared to write my third annual Oscar nomination story, I was perplexed. The past few years of seeing all of the recognized films, I had a big stand-out that I wholeheartedly rooted for, and critics usually united towards one singular deserving film. Whether or not I agreed with the aforementioned critics is a different story, but this has been consistent throughout the years. However, this year is a neck-in-neck race, and both myself and critics are confused as to who to throw their dice for. So, leading up to the Academy Awards, nomination speculations will be posted periodically. Make sure to check out the recently-posted Best Supporting Actor/Actress and Best Adapted/Original Screenplay predictions if you missed it.

Best Actress-

Will win: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Should win: Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Should’ve been nominated: Haley Lu Richardson, “Columbus”

As previously stated, “Three Billboards” (in my eyes) has so many lackluster elements, a lot of the film’s weight relies on the power of the performers. Therefore, it’s natural that Frances McDormand should wow audiences in this sappy, Oscar-bait-galore, cheese-ball movie. Also, it’s Frances McDormand, so of course she’s going to be stellar. However, this is some of McDormand’s weakest work. It might just be simply because I was more-than underwhelmed by this film, but McDormand’s gruff, cranky roughness gets tired after a while. The only scene where it isn’t boringly one-note is the most Oscar bait-y teary scene, but that isn’t enough to earn her a win. It probably will anyways, but I digress.

Margot Robbie’s performance as Tonya Harding is absolutely astonishing. Smooth and realistic when the situation calls for it, and mind-blowing emotional when need be. The mirror scene, and broken laces scene, and the courtroom scene cannot be understated. Robbie’s suppressed sobs and flares of anxiety are so brutally natural the audience feels everything Tonya Harding feels. The talent that is showcased is absolutely speechlessly fantastic. Robbie’s performance isn’t only the best of the year, it’s one of the best of all time. The ferocity, the emotion, the triumph, that builds her skills can not be put to words.

Haley Lu Richardson gives a subtle performance in an overlooked film, two things which qualify a snub. However, Richardson seems to understand her character effortlessly. Her easy, smooth witty dialogue that is exchanged with her counterpart is superb. Similarly to Robbie, Richardson makes the audience feel whatever her character is feeling. Her character fits into this beautiful, quiet film expertly. Each interrupting sob in this otherwise quiet film is heartbreaking, and blends into this perfect film amazingly.

Best Actor

Will win: Gary Oldman, “The Darkest Hour”

Should win: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Should’ve been nominated: John Cho, “Columbus”

Gary Oldman does an incredible character study in “The Darkest Hour”. Every detail is nailed, and if were to win, it would certainly be deserved. However, Daniel Kaluuya’s performance deserves much more recognition than it’s currently receiving. With such subject matter that’s featured in “Get Out”, the audience needs to see the story through the eyes of the main character, which isn’t an easy job to fulfill. However, Kaluuya delivers this effortlessly. In scenes of desperation or struggle, Kaluuya switches relatable for powerful. The emotions run high, and Kaluuya does a jaw-dropping job. The hallucination scene where he’s recounting his mother’s death gives me chills every time I see the film. You can practically see the memory in Kaluuya’s eyes, and paired with the cinematography and top-notch editing featured in this film, the performance is expertly gripping.

“Columbus” is a character study. Like I said when discussing Richardson’s performance, this film’s quiet brilliance and organically smart dialogue relies on multiple elements that the film excels at, the performances of the leads being the main one. A man revisiting his small town because of his ill father may seem like pure awards bait, but Cho absolutely excels. His performance is equally as subtle, yet powerful as Richardson’s. This film is so full of silent moments, which is a great deal harder to make powerful than wordy scenes of monologue. Cho handles these silent moments with tender, powerful emotion. Everything that is unsaid is clear, every feeling is felt with an intimate brutality. Cho absolutely blows this performance out of the water, and just like everything else about this stellar film, it’s unfortunately being overlooked.

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