By Josh Tarpley
As we near the end of September it is apparent the awards race is in full swing. Whether it be a constant barrage of film festival tweets or individuals weeding out their Oscar predictions, movie fans have fully transitioned out of the Summer blockbuster season and we have arrived in the Fall. Though most pundits are confident in the Oscar chances of films like “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Post” and “The Shape of Water,” the festival circuit is helping us shape the field and we already have our first surprise entry.
By taking TIFF’s People’s Choice award, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is now a real player in this year’s race. Click beyond the jump to read more about the effect of TIFF’s People’s Choice Award and the chances of “Three Billboards.”
Written and directed by Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges,” “Seven Psychopaths”), “Three Billboards” has the opportunity to be the director’s biggest mainstream hit. The all star cast and witty screenplay are on full display in the first trailer, and those who saw the film at TIFF took notice. To be clear, winning the TIFF People’s Choice Award is by no means a direct correlation to Best PIcture, but as we look at the past winners we see that “Three Billboards” could be a safe bet as far as a nomination goes.
Toronto International FIlm Festival People’s Choice Award:
2016 – La La Land (Best Picture WINN….just kidding lol)
2015 – Room (Best Picture Nominee)
2014 – The Imitation Game (Best Picture Nominee)
2013 – 12 Years A Slave (Best Picture WINNER)
2012 – Silver Linings Playbook (Best Picture Nominee)
2011 – Where Do We Go Now
2010 – The King’s Speech (Best Picture WINNER)
2009 – Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” By Sapphire (Best Picture Nominee)
2008 – Slumdog Millionaire (Best Picture WINNER)
2007 – Eastern Promises
Based on the past 10 years (and if you are obsessed with statistics), “Three Billboards” has an 80% chance of being nominated for Best Picture. Those are pretty good odds if you ask me. Whether or not it ends up being nominated, the film’s warm reception at TIFF ought to bring joy to film fans everywhere, it looks like we have something special here.
Fox Searchlight is definitely taking the TIFF win seriously as they want to see “Three Billboards” be a real Oscar player this year. Due to the film’s subject matter (Perpetrators of sexual assault going unpunished), the film was pulled from Austin, Texas’ Fantastic Fest due to the Tim League/Devin Faraci controversy stirring over there.
It is unfortunate that Fantastic Fest attendees will miss out on what looks to be a powerful film, but can you blame Fox Searchlight for pulling it? “Three Billboards” is described as a dark-comedy, so they will always have this thin line to walk while building their Oscar narrative. It is for the best that the film not be discussed in the same breath as the Fantastic Fest controversy.
I for one am extremely excited for the film, and I think I might just update my Best Picture predictions to make room for it. It certainly helps that there are other possibilities for it in other categories such as Best Actress for Frances McDormand, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Rockwell and Best Original Screenplay. What say you? Were you already predicting it for the other three categories and not Best Picture? Does the TIFF audience award win do anything to make you think that “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” can now get a Best Picture nomination? Let us know in the comments below!
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will see a limited release starting on November 10, 2017.
You can follow Josh and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @JoshTarpley7