After bursting into theaters as one of the best-reviewed movies of all time, the buzz surrounding "Lady Bird" seems to have cooled in Oscar season's later stages.
Most forecasts from Hollywood insiders have Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf and the rest of the "Lady Bird" cast and crew going home from the Academy Awards empty-handed on Sunday night. Predictions from Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair and Variety, to name a few, anticipate Gerwig's "love letter to Sacramento" losing in all five categories in which it is nominated.
Gold Derby gave "Lady Bird" 10-1 odds to win best original screenplay and 20-to-1 odds to win best picture. The probability became even slimmer in the categories of best actress, where Ronan had 40-to-1 odds to topple Frances McDormand's performance in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," and best director, where Gerwig's 50-to-1 odds lagged far behind Guillermo Del Toro's "The Shape of Water."
Metcalf has the best chance of winning Oscar gold, with 10-to-3 to take home the hardware for best supporting actress, according to Gold Derby's projections. Even then, she's likely to be overshadowed by Allison Janney's harrowing maternal figure in "I, Tonya."
Much of "Lady Bird's" strength is in its simplicity, including its $10 million budget and its relatable storytelling about a high school senior. But that same quality may have caused it to be overlooked in favor of films with grander scale.
Nevertheless, "Lady Bird" has pulled off a feat rarely achieved by Hollywood. In a USA Today article titled "'Lady Bird' probably won't win any Oscars, and that's a bad thing," Patrick Ryan argues that Gerwig's loose adaptation of her 18-year-old self proved that both men and women will flock to female coming-of-age stories, if done well.
"'Lady Bird' may not have the scope of 'Dunkirk,' the audaciousness of 'The Shape of Water,' the urgency of 'Three Billboards' or the social relevance of 'Get Out,'" Ryan wrote. "But giving the academy's top honor to a small-scale female story that completely redefines what can and should be an 'awards movie?' As (Lady Bird's) tragically hip boyfriend Kyle might say, that would be a 'very baller, very anarchist' move."
Even if Sunday night proves fruitless, "Lady Bird's" trophy cabinet won't be totally barren. The film in January won Golden Globes for best motion picture musical or comedy and best performance by an actress (Ronan) in a motion picture musical or comedy.
Benjy Egel: (916) 321-1052, firstname.lastname@example.org