HOLLYWOOD—The granddaddy of all awards shows is soon approaching America. That’s right the 90th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 4 and as we near the ceremony it’s time to take a look at some of the biggest categories and examine who will remain supreme in the races for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor and Best Actress.

I will be honest most of these races seem like locks, with very little variation if you ask me. Perhaps the only ones where there are wiggle room is the Best Picture and Best Director races, however, if there is one category that tends to deliver surprises it’s always the Supporting races. I recall vividly in 2016 where many were certain that it was a race between Christian Bale “The Big Short” and Sylvester Stallone “Creed,” however, I pegged Mark Rylance as a dark horse, and he indeed was in the Best Supporting Actor race.

Well in 2018, there is indeed a clear front-runner in Sam Rockwell for his riveting performance in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” His only competition is “The Florida Project’s” Willem Dafoe. The problem being Rockwell has already cleaned up this awards season taking home the prize for both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. Dafoe, however, hasn’t seen much awards love, and this could be the Academy’s way of winking or showing a bit of love to the little known film that was completely overlooked in many categories this year.

I will argue a very dark horse in contender Christopher Plummer for his incredible performance in “All the Money in the World.” It is seriously the best recasting choice I can think of in cinematic history. The fact that he was nominated sends echoes that members of the Academy saw the film and loved what they saw. Put your money on Rockwell, but do not be surprised if you have a surprise in this category. There is ALWAYS a surprise fans least expect in the acting races; last year it was Best Actor, this year who knows.

I have the same sentiment for the Best Supporting Actress race where I can’t see how Allison Janney loses the prize for her riveting work in “I, Tonya.” That woman was purely sensational and I loved every single moment of watching her on the screen. However, unlike Supporting Actor, there are arguments that can be made for almost each of the women competing in this race. I mean Mary J. Blige was a revelation in “Mudbound” and the fact that the flick received several nominations is a sign the Academy noticed the film far more than many expected. Is her performance strong enough to dethrone Janney? No. As for Octavia Spencer, the woman has been nominated 3 times in this category, taking home a win for her work in “The Help” in 2012. She was nominated last year for “Hidden Figures.” Her role in “The Shape of Water” is more fine-tuned than previous work we’ve seen from her, yet still awards worthy.

However, if we’re talking about contenders who can give Janney a run for her money, there are two ladies: Laurie Metcalf for “Lady Bird” and Lesley Manville for “Phantom Thread.” I will make the case that Janney’s biggest opponent is Metcalf who is a wonder in that movie and some have pegged as a bigger threat to win the prize than those who think Janney is a shoo-in. I mean if “Lady Bird” is shown any love, it’s likely to be the Best Original Screenplay race, but here is another category where a victory could be in play. We have to discuss Lesley Manville who is perhaps the biggest surprise in this race. She has gone the entire awards season without any accolades, so the fact that she picked a nomination in a very competitive race where many expected Hong Chau to sneak in for her work in the flick “Downsizing,” speaks wonders.

“Phantom Thread” is a bigger threat at the 2018 ceremony than many expected. I mean it’s picked up nominations in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. It’s a certainty the flick will win Best Costume Design, but I can see Supporting Actress as another category where a surprise is definitely in store for movie lovers.

In the end, I think Janney is a lock for Best Supporting Actor, whereas my instinct tells me Sam Rockwell will be the winner in the Best Supporting Actor race, but I would not be surprised if another name was revealed say: Christopher Plummer or Willem Dafoe.