Earlier this week, a GQ profile deemed 22-year-old actor Timothée Chalamet a "once-in-a-generation talent," and I don't disagree one bit. Chalamet gave unforgettable performances in the two Oscar-nominated films he was in this year — Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name. Which of us mortals was spared from being seared by Chalamet's sad eyes in the lingering final shot of Call Me By Your Name? None of us, that's who.
But by deeming Chalamet the "once-in-a-generation talent," the author is overlooking Saorise Ronan who, at 23, has already been nominated for three Academy Awards. Let that sink in. Three Academy Awards. Her first Oscar nod came in 2008, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work as the meddling younger sister in Atonement. Then, she was nominated in 2016 and 2018 for Best Actress (Brooklyn and Lady Bird, respectively). If that's not a once-in-a-generation talent, I don't know what is.
If it were up to me, I would've handed the Oscar to Ronan immediately after walking out of the theater for Lady Bird. Unfortunately, while she's certainly a frontrunner, I don't foresee Ronan walking away from the 90th Academy Awards with a little golden man in hand. Likely, the award will go to the current frontrunner, Frances McDormand, whose raging, grieving character, Mildred Hayes, incited all the action in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
It's a matter of precedent. Past years have proven the existence of an overwhelming correlation between the SAG Awards and Academy Awards when it comes to winners, especially in performance categories. Since the SAG Awards' founding in 1994, it has only "missed" predicting the Academy Award for Best Actress six times. The most recent deviation between the SAG Awards and the Oscars occurred in 2011, when the SAG for Best Actress went to Viola Davis in The Help, and the Academy Award went to Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.
You can see where we're going here. Frances McDormand, not Saoirse Ronan, won this year's SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Female Role. As a result of this win, and her many other award show circuit wins, the unofficial award predictors on GoldDerby have deemed McDormand the likely Oscar winner.
But what about the Golden Globes, you ask? Didn't Ronan win one of those? She did — and so did McDormand. Since the Golden Globes splits up movie categories between drama and comedy/musical, there was space to acknowledge both actresses' incredible performances. For the most part, the Golden Globes predict Best Actress pretty well — Jason Bailey of Flavorwire found that 90% of the time, the winner of either the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical or the Best Actress in a Drama category will go on to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. It's just a matter of knowing whether to put the money on comedy/musical or drama. This time around, it seems that the compass is pointing toward McDormand and drama.
Ultimately, though, past precedent cannot predict what will happen on the evening of March 4. After all, no number-crunching could have predicted that last year, the incorrect movie would be announced as Best Picture. Although McDormand appears to be a shoo-in for Best Actress from a statistical standpoint, the Academy Awards often surprise us.
What's evident is that Ronan has a long, promising career ahead of her. If you're going to bet on something, bet on this: Eventually, Saorise Ronan will win an Academy Award for Best Actress and/or Best Supporting Actress. It just might not be in 2018.
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