2018 Oscar nominations: who will win, who should win?

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This year, there are pressures on The Oscars—the #MeToo movement demands men not be excused for ignoring consent, and #OscarsSoWhite continues as race relations are at the forefront of conversation. We’ll see if diversity and female empowerment are honored with the top awards this year during the ceremony March 3, but the nominations themselves indicate at least a little more inclusive than in years past.

Best Picture

What will/should win: The Shape of Water. It’s inclusive without being overly preachy, and a heartwarming and gorgeous narrative put to the big screen.
What also deserves to win: Get Out. This movie is a genre-defying social justice thriller that raises as many important questions as it does the hairs on your arms.

Best Actress

Who will/should win: Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” McDormand relates to audiences as a mother dead set on finding her daughter’s murderer and rapist. Her strong will and tenacity are believable as McDormand demands answers, making us demand them, too.
Who also deserves to win: Literally any of the other nominees in this category deserve the title. Sally Hawkins captivates audiences with her charisma without speaking a word the entire movie. Margot Robbie is at her best as the disgraced Tonya Harding, making someone who is widely hated sympathetic and human. Saoirse Ronan radiates as a quirky teenager dealing with a strikingly realistic depiction of the teen experience. And finally, Meryl Streep just deserves all of the Oscars.

Best Actor

Who will win: Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour.” A true character actor, Oldman becomes Churchill and serves as a compelling figure proven vital to Britain’s success in World War II.

Who also deserves to win: Timothee Chalamet in “Call Me By Your Name.” Chalamet carries the movie as a teenager conflicted by his feelings for an older man. The final scene where Chalamet stares into a fireplace illustrates the young actor’s ability to resonate with the audience and emit passion with only a few facial expressions and tears.

Supporting Actress

Who will win: Allison Janney in “I, Tonya.” Janney brings to life a monstrous character, a truly awful human being. Watching it, you’ll cringe, you’ll hate her, but you’ll laugh your ass off and love Janney for it by the credits.

Who also deserves to win: Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird.” Metcalf is a mother torn between her cold exterior and her true love for her problematic daughter. Her portrayal deserves praise for so eloquently putting to life a struggle felt by mothers around the world.

Supporting Actor

Who will/should win: Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” If the Academy decides to award Rockwell for this, I have questions about whether the award should take into consideration what the role specifically is. In “Three Billboards,” Rockwell plays a racist cop who redeems himself by helping McDormand’s character find her daughter’s murderer. In today’s landscape of race relations and fighting for equality, I wondered if Rockwell’s likely win would be problematic. But he is passionate in this role, and if the Academy is looking strictly at talent, Rockwell’s got it. He makes us empathize with someone we shouldn’t empathize with at all.