What does the odd, never before seen, ELEVEN choices of the Producers Guild mean? Well, to the films seen above jockeying for position to get Oscar nominations it means a lot. The five pictured above means that they are all in like flint. They are, counting down, “The Shape of Water”, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri”, “Dunkirk”, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Lady Bird.” They all can relax and take it easy for at least 48 hours, til the Golden Globes are announced Sunday.
Not that anyone campaigning for the Oscars EVER gets to take it easy at this time of year. Impossible! The mode now is almost always PANIC. But especially if you’ve been left out, like “Darkest Hour” and most importantly, “The Florida Project”.
All Academy Members, especially the Actor’s Branch, at this crucial point, are looking at this list. This means that poor little, brilliant, tear-jerker “Florida” may get left off the Academy’s list which always averages to something like nine. It has to duke it out with the films above and also “Wonder Woman”(can’t believe it’ll be nominated for Best Picture”), “Get Out”((ditto)) and “I, Tonya”(((Triple Ditto))) and “The Post”(yes, probably.)
“The Florida Project”s Oscar chances was mainly riding on the coattails of its Best Supporting Actor hopeful Willem Dafoe, who plays the patient, likable, motel manager. He has VERY strong competition from Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards” and the inclusion of “Billboards” pretty much knocks Dafoe’s chances down a peg or two. Or three. Proves that people like Hollywood Producers Guild members don’t like films about people on welfare that star people on welfare. (Except for Willem Dafoe, of course.)
Rockwell’s star continues to rise and rise, and he’s even hosting SNL tomorrow night! If you compare the two, as I’m sure the Actor’s Branch members are doing right now, as they begin to vote for their nominations, Rockwell, though I can’t spoil exactly how, where and why, has the truly transformational character. He has to go through many, many amazing permutations, and his film “Three BillBoards…” is a Big Indie, almost a full-on feature film. And “The Florida Project” is not. It’s as small as small can be, and isn’t liked as much as the much admired “Billboards.”
The leaving off “The Darkest Hour” is also not good news for Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. 19 year old(when he shot it) Timothee Chalamat (“Call Me By Your Own Name”) is really giving the veteran British character actor a run for his money, too. He’s 23 now, but would they really shaft the veteran? Timothee’s low-key charisma is charm without end…but…same with Saoirse Ronan’s lost-in-high-school Lady Bird. Two coming of age stories…Are they going to award BOTH teenagers-in-question?
I would say that those four men, Oldman, Chalamet, Dafoe and Rockwell are the ones in serious awards contention here. They’ll all be nominated, but who will win?
“I, Tonya”s emergence out of the mire that was Tonya Harding’s life and the inclusion of it on this List of Lists really means that it has to be taken much more seriously than anyone had expected. And that not only the respected vet Allison Janney, but the emergent Australian actress Margot Robbie, is no longer merely a sex-bomb, but also quite possibly a Best Actress nominee. As unbelievable as that may have sounded even last week.
I don’t think this helps or hurts Allison Janney, as her mother-from-hell, because if “Lady Bird” is going to win anything, it’s Laurie Metcalf as Lady Bird’s mother from Purgatory in Best Supporting Actress.
So what will “Lady Bird,” which seems to be leading the momentum. Wwhat will that mean for its lovely Irish star Saoirse Ronan and its brilliant writer-director Greta Gerwig? I’d say the jury is still out on that one, and that it’s going to be a battle to the end or a fight to the finish either way for both of them.