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By Jay Matthews

A favorite will fade this awards season

Oscar night is still two months away, but everyone already knows who is going to walk away with a gilded trophy. Well, they think they know. The early favorite was released months ago, but the final winner may not even be in wide release yet. So with the Golden Globes nominations out, it's time to see which movies and performances are coming on strong, and which ones are fading fast.


This war epic, Christopher Nolan's latest masterpiece, is the early favorite to win best picture at 7:1 odds according to GoldDerby. Shot on 70mm film, Dunkirk is stunning to watch on the big screen. The editing is superb and engaging, while the audio puts you in the middle of the fight(s) for survival.

The problem is that there is no face to this movie. Despite featuring Tom Hardy, Fionn Whitehead and Oscar winner Mark Rylance, Harry Styles was the most talked about actor in the movie. Also, the story is so broad that you never get attached to any one character.

Look for Dunkirk to clean up early in the night in the technical categories, and maybe garner Best Director for Nolan. But as far as Best Picture is concerned, this movie is fading fast.

Lady Bird

Teen angst seeps from Saoirse Ronan's performance as Christine "Lady Bird" McPherson. She faces the myriad challenges of school, romantic relationships, family relationships, figuring out her future and finding her place in the world. These problems are pretty common, but Ronan expresses them in an uncommon performance that is definitely worth a Best Actress nomination.

Laurie Metcalf turns in a performance that is worthy of a Supporting Actress nod. She plays Lady Bird's mom, at once hard-working, well meaning, and nearly always deaf to her daughter's cries for help.
At 8:1 for Best Picture, it should get a well-deserved nomination.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Occasionally a movie comes along that has it all: a strong script, thoughtful directing and editing, and spellbinding performances. Three Billboards is one such film.

As Mildred, Frances McDormand plays a character that is scarred, heartbroken, angry, frustrated, and desperate. She holds your attention every moment she is on screen. What makes her performance especially rare – and this is a credit to the script and director – is that while she becomes less sympathetic as the movie goes on, we still can't turn her away from our hearts. Look for her to be holding several statues by the end of awards season.

Sam Rockwell could also get a Supporting Actor nomination for his role as Dixon, a racist, alcoholic small-town police officer. Dixon drunkenly stumbles across an opportunity for redemption, and cements an outstanding performance.

At 9:1 for Best Picture, Three Billboards could be the movie that surges late and takes it all.

The Post

It's hard to call a movie that has Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg a bit of a dark horse, but most people outside Los Angeles have barely heard of it. The Post has played in just enough theaters to qualify for awards season, and will not open across the country until next year.

However, now that critics have seen it, The Post has edged slightly ahead of Dunkirk in GoldDerby's Oscar odds for Best Picture. Look for acting nominations for Streep and Hanks and a Director nod for Spielberg.

It's worth remembering that Oscar voters often do not like too much of a good thing (La La Land, anyone?), and a Hollywood Holy Trinity of Streep, Hanks and Spielberg may place it in the Oscar equivalent of the friend zone. Only March 2018 will tell.

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