Hollywood adores actors who go to extreme lengths to change their physical appearance. As a rich reward, the Academy loves to hand out those golden Oscars for each magnificent makeover. Think Robert De Niro, who put on the beef to play boxer Jake La Motta in l980 for Raging Bull. Or how about Charlize Theron, who in 2003 switched from stunning beauty to hooker-turned-serial killer in Monster? And who could forget the thespians who nosed ahead of their rivals with fake proboscises to win Oscars: Lee Marvin as the gunslinger in Cat Ballou (1965), Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002) and Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011).
Which leads me to this surefire prediction. When the 90th Academy Awards unspools on ABC on Sunday, March 4, starting at 5 p.m., with Jimmy Kimmel hosting for the second year, the Oscar for the best actor will go to Gary Oldman — wearing several pounds of prosthetics thanks to the wizardry of makeup artist Kazuhiro Tsuji.
Most moviegoers will agree: Wasn’t Gary so unbelievably unrecognizable under all that plastic as that old lion, Winston Churchill, in Darkest Hour?
I rest my case.
And what about the other nominees? It might be trickier this year picking winners because of a slew of new voters who have joined the once fusty and aging Academy membership over the last couple of years. Not to mention all the talk of improving race, gender and other diversities in the voting ranks.
So here goes.
Best Actress: Ireland’s Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird, Britain’s Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water and Aussie Margot Robbie for I, Tonya were all standouts. But my pick is Frances McDormand, who has paid her dues and is the pulse and heartbeat of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. She last collected an Oscar for Fargo in 1996.
Best Film: I liked Dunkirk but who cares about what I like? Either The Shape of Water or Three Billboards — both remarkably innovative offerings. It’s a tight one.
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro for his marvelously daring Shape of Water. But watch out for a sneak attack from newbie director Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird. Maybe next year, Greta.
The best supporting actor and actress categories are often unpredictable and surprise picks.
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards, because he almost stole the movie as Ebbing’s schmuck of a cop.
Best Supporting Actress: It has to be Allison Janney as Tonya Harding’s consistently awful, hard-nut, ciggie-puffing mother in I, Tonya. But don’t rule out Mary J. Blige as a possible outsider for Mudbound — although the so-called experts think Laurie Metcalf might be the stunner of the night as the mother in Lady Bird.
And I hope they get the envelopes right this year!
Out of the Box is a semi-regular column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.