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Oscars Down Under: Australians Aim For Academy Glory



Margot Robbie will lead the charge for Australia when the Academy Awards take place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on March 4. The Queenslander was named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the world last year and capped a meteoric rise by earning her first Oscar nod. She plays disgraced American ice skater Tonya Harding in the critically acclaimed hit I, Tonya. She has earned rave reviews for her performance and seems destined to scoop plenty of awards during a long and glittering Hollywood career.

However, Robbie is a long shot at this year’s ceremony as Frances McDormand has absolutely dominated the awards season. The American star, who last won an Oscar in 1997 for her portrayal of a pregnant sleuth in Fargo, gives an incendiary performance in Best Picture frontrunner Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. She plays a vengeful mother, whose daughter has been raped and killed, and manages to blend pathos with dark humour throughout. Heritage Sports will carry odds on Oscars, make sure to check them out and you will see that McDormand is the heavy favourite to win Best Actress on March 4.

She has already emerged victorious from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild awards and BAFTAS, and looks destined to complete the set. The actress most likely to stop her is rising star Saoirse Ronan, according to bookmakers, for her role in Lady Bird. However, Ronan is out at around the $10 mark, while Sally Hawkins of The Shape of Water is $21 and Robbie is around $34. She is ahead of stars like Meryl Streep in the betting, but it would be a massive upset if she won. However, given her rapid ascent in Hollywood, she looks destined to become a future Oscar winner.

“Robbie turns her features hard – and her attitude harder – to play the queen of the triple axel,” said esteemed Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers of her performance in I, Tonya. “She never begs for sympathy, though we give it willingly thanks to the power of the star’s take on Harding as a woman who refuses to be a punchline.” She has already wowed audiences in Wolf Of Wall Street, brightened up The Big Short and put a superhero movie under her belt (Suicide Squad), and the sky is the limit. She follows in the footsteps of a long line of Australian stars to make it big in Hollywood, from Hugh Jackman to Nicole Kidman, but only Robbie made the nominations list this year.

However, Australian editor Lee Smith received a nomination for his work on Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk. The film earned rave reviews and is considered a dark horse in the Best Picture stakes, Smith has a great chance of success in the Best Film Editing category as Dunkirk is the clear favourite, price below $2 with all the leading bookmakers. Smith has been Nolan’s go-to editor for more than a decade, having worked on the Dark Knight trilogy and films like Inception and Insterstellar.

But the Syndeysider had his work cut out with Dunkirk, as he had to whittle the epic down to just 106 minutes. By all accounts he did a terrific job, turning Nolan’s script into a taut masterpiece that had viewers buzzing. It earned more than $500 million worldwide and is nominated well in the technical categories at the upcoming Oscars. So even if Robbie misses out this year, there is a very good chance that an Australian star will seize glory on the biggest stage of all, continuing a long heritage of success in the Academy Awards.

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