Questions to ponder before Oscar reveal

NEW YORK — Oscar nominations balloting might be finished but Hollywood’s “Me Too” moment has kept right on going.

When Academy Awards nominations are announced Tuesday morning, it might be a brief, celebratory reprieve for an industry enflamed by sexual harassment scandals and gender equality protests.

Or it might just add more fuel to the fire.

Will the motion picture academy, as it has done in 85 out of 89 years, field an all-male field of film directors? Will James Franco squeak into the best actor category after several women made allegations against him of sexual improprieties while filming sex scenes?

Either of those outcomes could make the Oscar nominations one more fraught chapter in the ongoing “Me Too” saga that already has shaped an Oscar race unlike any before.

After winning four Golden Globe Awards, including best feature, drama, Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” may finally have taken the Oscar race position no one wants: favorite. It has the most unblemished score card of all the contenders, including nine BAFTA nods, an ensemble nomination from the Screen Actors Guild, top award nods from the directors and producers guilds, and the often predictive Toronto Film Festival audience award.

But “Three Billboards” has proven a lightning rod — celebrated for the timeliness of a tale about female vengeance and derided as out of touch.

Nearly its equal is Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” an admired Cold War fable that may earn the most nominations thanks to its lavish craft and celebrated ensemble cast.

And still in the mix are Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird,” Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk.” Each can stake its own claim. “Lady Bird” is the only top contender made by a woman, and is perhaps the most critically acclaimed movie of the year. “Get Out” is a landmark genre-bending film about racism, and for many a vital film for the Donald Trump era. “Dunkirk” is the lone big-screen, blockbuster spectacle of the bunch. While it has been quiet thus far in awards season, “Dunkirk” will get a boost in the technical categories Tuesday.