The 2016 Coen Brothers film, “Hail, Caesar!” was a solid Frances McDormand outing, but nothing in comparison to the following year’s show-stopping “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” As Slate wrote, “McDormand’s vanity-free, fiercely truthful performance is the kind Hollywood ought to honor” — and honored she was.
Not only was “Three Billboards” a fantastic film, but it also earned McDormand her second Academy Award, once again in the category of Best Actress. She also won at the Golden Globes, the British Film and Television Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards for her mesmerizing performance. The Austin Chronicle reviewer said that here, “McDormand embodies a tenacious but flawed character who does not fear unlikability, and in doing so creates one of the most memorable personages in her incomparable career.”
McDormand appears as Mildred Hayes, a woman who is seething with rage over the rape and murder of her teenage daughter and what she perceives to be the local police’s lack of action on the case. She rents three billboards in the small Missouri town in which she lives, targeting the ailing police chief, Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and the rest of his department. Particularly upset is a racist cop named Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), who harasses not only Mildred but also her friends and co-conspirators. The two become unlikely allies when the possible killer emerges later in the film, but Mildred’s fire never fades.