(Minor spoilers regarding the film’s themes)
It’s interesting and usually nothing more than annoying when “Oscar Backlash” strikes a film. And the controversy usually comes from out of context, has very little to do with the film(s) it surrounds. In the case of Three Billboards, there’s some small, passing, and certainly annoying (in a “mosquito buzzing near your ear” kind of way) backlash claiming that the film glorifies racism. This has to do with Sam Rockwell’s character, who is a racist cop. I will avoid plot details and instead focus on the themes explored through his character.
After seeing the film, it was difficult for me to even understand the source of the backlash other than maybe it was due to McDonagh’s dark sense of humor, but then I realized—and later read—that the controversy surrounds how the story treats Rockwell’s cop, the arc he follows. And I’m disappointed that there is backlash at all.