Margot Robbie: I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan: Lady Bird
Meryl Streep: The Post
Sally Hawkins: The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (winner)
So let’s talk about the possible snubs for Best Actress 2017. This is actually a solid collection of nominations, so I’m not terribly bent out of shape by it. I’ll drop the three that I think might get some mention from others that I don’t quite agree with here first. Ella Hunt inAnna and the Apocalypse would be a very interesting choice, but not one I think is warranted. The same is true for Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick, who is probably supporting. Also likely supporting is Dafne Keen in Logan. I would possibly consider Emily Mortimer in The Bookshop, but not as much as I might consider Jennifer Lawrence in mother! Emma Stone is worth considering as the best part of Battle of the Sexes, and Charlize Theron was the beating heart of Atomic Blonde. A Ghost Story is absolutely Rooney Mara’s film, and she could easily be here. But it’s Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game who I think was snubbed the most.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. It seems of late that I have been putting Meryl Streep in last place more than I like. This makes it seem like I don’t like Meryl Streep, when this is absolutely not the case. It seems, though, that the Academy simply sees her name on something and decides that it’s time to nominate her once again because she’s Meryl Streep. There’s no reason that a good but relatively forgettable performance in a good but relatively forgettable movie like The Post should be here when Jessica Chastain, Rooney Mara, and Charlize Theron are not.
4. I’m not terribly surprised that Frances McDormand won for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but I’m not sure I would nominate her. I am a huge McDormand fan—her win for Fargo is one of Oscar’s best moments (or one that would have sparked riots had it gone a different way). But this is a fine performance in a movie that is problematic in a lot of ways. In a year where there were much better performances in much better movies, I don’t really understand the reasoning behind her getting a second win.
3. If I was voting entirely based on heart, I would go with Sally Hawkins, who I think is a talented actress who is frequently overlooked. Oddly, since men often win for roles that involve physical or mental limitations, had this role been for an actor, she might have had a much better chance of winning. Hawkins plays this role very well and is sympathetic over and above the fact that the character is mute. I love the performance, but in a year this good, she’s relegated to third in the nominations and barely nominated if I make my own list of five.
2. I have only recently become more and more a member of the Margot Robbie fan club. I, Tonya is not a pleasant movie, and not one I would look forward to watching again, but Robbie is excellent in every frame of this movie. This is one of those rare cases where the fact that the main character of the film and the story being told is terribly disagreeable, but the performance itself is so good that it transcends the problems I would normally have. Robbie is a talent, and I have no doubt she’ll be holding an Oscar soon enough.
1. But this should have been Saoirse Ronan’s win for Lady Bird. Ronan is all of 26 years old and has already been nominated for four Oscars. She is, at least in my opinion, the best actor right now, and she has probably earned more than one Oscar already in her career. One of those is for Lady Bird, a rare instance of a nearly-perfect combination of screenplay and casting. No one else could handle this role as well or make it so real. Ronan will have a shelf full of gold statues one day, but she should have this one already.