Why #MeToo Will Impact the Odds to Win Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
image: Fox Searchlight

With the 2018 Academy Awards over a week away, the question about which film will win the Best Picture category may be proving to be an easy one to answer in light of the #MeToo campaign.

What began with sexual assault/misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein ripped through the rest of Hollywood like a tidal wave, leaving many violating male producers, directors, actors, and personalities battered in its wake.

The Golden Globes (with the help of Oprah) certainly addressed the matter. This was not only evident on the red carpet, as supporters marched the crimson in all-black attire, it had an impact on the podium, with leading lady charged films taking home the gold. If women were allowed in the “Best Performance by an Actor” category the boys would have been out of luck there too.

One film that stood out, was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Even with a name doomed to fail at the box office (a la The Shawshank Redemption), TBOEM cleaned up, taking Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and Best Screenplay. The other two big awards, Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Director, went to Lady Bird and Shape of Water respectively. Both of those films were headlined by a leading lady. You can see where we’re going with this.

For those who haven’t seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the synopsis is pretty straight forward. The film is about an angry woman and a corrupt cop. Read: an angry woman and a corrupt Hollywood.

The movie about a woman fed up with the injustice of the world (and her town) had been stuck in development for years, so its arrival at the tail end of 2017 was fitting to say the least. Perhaps the folks at FOX Searchlight Pictures smelled something brewing in Hollywood and went ahead and pulled the trigger on development just in time.

Bereaved mother (played exquisitely by Frances McDormand) is fed with the failure of the local PD to find the person responsible for raping and murdering her daughter. She rents three billboards on a road leading to and from town, emblazoned with a harsh message directed at the local authorities, namely the Chief of Police (Woody Harrelson) and his deputy. The testosterone fueled antagonist (also played brilliantly, by Sam Rockwell) is a sexist and racist brute – mirroring many figureheads found in the socio-political climate of today.

In addition to the Golden Globes, TBOEM took top honors at BAFTA, SAG, AACTA, AFI, and AWFJ (Alliance of Women Film Journalists). The list goes on and on. Will it win the Oscar? Yes. Even Vegas says so, with sportsbook TopBet naming TBOEM as the top bet to do so. The only film that stands a chance against it, is Shape of Water. But at press, Shape of Water is facing its own allegations, with Fox Searchlight, director Guillermo del Toro, and producer Daniel Kraus being accused of conspiring to plagiarize a strikingly similar play from 1969, “Let Me Hear You Whisper.” Hollywood can’t handle any more controversy at this point, so Shape of Water is now in hot water, and out of luck.

If you’ve seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, you know that it has won thus far on its own merit. When it also walks away with the Oscar for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards, some critics will point to #MeToo as being partly responsible. But given that art is supposed to imitate life, isn’t that OK?

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