UPDATED: 11:15 A.M. Jan. 23
This year, the Academy didn’t bite on the Oscar bait.
The headline from the announcement of the 90th Annual Academy Awards is that, as expected, The Shape of Water led the pack with 13 nominations including Best Picture, Actress (Sally Hawkins), and Director (Guillermo del Toro). That’s one short of the record 14 held by La La Land (2016), Titanic (1997), and All About Eve (1950). Shape is the 10th film ever to rack up 13.
(Read full list below.)
But not to be buried under that lead, the apparent Oscar juggernaut The Post was nearly shutout. The “important” film of the season from Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep, and Tom Hanks, one that would’ve cleaned up with nominations in years past, was given only two nods. They’re big ones – Best Picture and Best Actress (Streep) – but they’re the only ones, making them respectful consolations at best. (Streep set a record with her 21st nomination, making her the most nominated performer of all time, and Spielberg has now directed 11 Best Picture nominees, the most of any current living person.)
Suffice it to say, the dramatic shift in the Academy membership over the last few years – one that has focused on recruiting a younger, more diverse representation – has shifted the entire temperament of the voting body.
Instead, smaller movies like Lady Bird and Get Out can become major contenders, representing women and minority voices that also have social relevance. Both films’ directors – Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele – were also nominated, each for their directorial debuts. The directing nods for Gerwig and Peele overcame an historical bias towards white males, continuing a trend seen over the past few years with Mexican director winners Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman, The Revenant) and Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity).
Peele also becomes just the third person to be nominated for Picture, Director, and Screenplay in the same year. Warren Beatty first did it in 1978 with Heaven Can Wait, then James L. Brooks in 1983 with Terms of Endearment. Beatty lost all three, Brooks won all three. Peele also becomes only the fifth African-American to ever receive a directing nomination. Likewise, Gerwig is only the fifth woman.
Other notable historical markers came with the nominations for Call Me By Your Name. One of its four (including Best Picture) has 22-year-old Timothée Chalamet becoming the youngest Best Actor nominee in 78 years; 19-year-old Mickey Rooney was nominated in 1939 for Babes In Arms. On the opposite side of the spectrum, 89-year-old James Ivory became the oldest Oscar nominee ever (topping 87-year-old Gloria Stuart of Titanic). If he wins the Adapted Screenplay award (as he’s expected to), he’ll become the oldest Oscar winner ever, beating out Christopher Plummer who won the Supporting Actor Oscar for Beginners at the age of 82.
(Well, almost oldest. Fellow nominee this year Agnès Varda, who’s nominated for her documentary feature Faces Places, is not only also 89 but actually 8 days older than Ivory.)
And for a bit of glass-ceiling breaking, Mudbound D.P. Rachel Morrison became the first woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography.
The biggest beneficiary of the Post snubs was Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Phantom Thread. Thought to be limited to Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and a couple of tech nods, Phantom Thread surprised with 6 nominations total including Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville).
Christopher Nolan‘s WWII epic Dunkirk was second with 8 nominations including Best Picture and, more importantly, Nolan’s first ever (and rather belated) nod for Director. It also cleaned up in the tech categories.
Actor also saw one of the year’s biggest snubs. James Franco‘s turn as the eccentric Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist was a guaranteed nomination until recently. Just as nomination voting began, a handful of women publicly accused Franco of sexual harassment, including actress Ally Sheedy. Although Franco publicly denied the accusations and expressed support for the #MeToo movement, Academy members weren’t about to take that kind of a risk, telling Franco #NotYou.
Then there’s the current prohibitive Best Picture favorite Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Despite coming in third with 7 nominations and falling victim to a surprise snub in the Best Directing category, Three Billboards has been cleaning up at recent awards shows. It’s not the kind of big production that stacks up nominations in tech categories (like Shape and Dunkirk did), but it’s clearly the movie that’s striking the zeitgeist with the industry right now.
Barring any dramatic shifts between now and Oscar night, Three Billboards is the clear front-runner to win Best Picture. The other major categories also bordering on locks: del Toro for Director, Oldman for Best Actor, Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) for Actress, Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) for Supporting Actor and Allison Janney (I, Tonya) for Supporting Actress.
If Three Billboards has any competition for the top prize it’s most likely The Shape of Water. Here’s what’s particularly ironic – and fascinating – about that: both films are distributed by Fox Searchlight. It’s very rare to see a single studio compete against itself so directly for the industry’s highest honor.
As far as my own nomination predictions and how I fared, out of 108 choices I got 86 correct and 22 incorrect. I went 5-for-5 in six categories (Actress, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing) and 4-for-5 in seven other categories.
The 90th Annual Academy Awards will take place on Sunday night March 4, 2018, at 8pm EST/7pm CST. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, it will air on ABC.
The Nominees for
THE 90TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS
– Call Me By Your Name (4 Nominations)
– Darkest Hour (6 Nominations)
– Dunkirk (8 Nominations)
– Get Out (4 Nominations)
– Lady Bird (5 Nominations)
– Phantom Thread (6 Nominations)
– The Post (2 Nominations)
– The Shape of Water (13 Nominations)
– Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (7 Nominations)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
– Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
– Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
– Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
– Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
– Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
– The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
– Get Out, Jordan Peele
– Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
– The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
– Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
– Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory
– The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
– Logan, Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
– Mudbound, Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
– Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
– A Fantastic Woman
– The Insult
– On Body and Soul
– The Square
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
– Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
– Faces Places
– Last Men in Aleppo
– Strong Island
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
– Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
– Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
– The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
– Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
– Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell
BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
(my review of all five)
– DeKalb Elementary
– The Eleven O’Clock
– My Nephew Emmett
– The Silent Child
– Watu Wore / All of Us
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
(my review of all five)
– Dear Basketball
– Garden Party
– Negative Space
– Revolting Rhymes
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
(my review of all five)
– Edith + Eddie
– Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
– Knife Skills
– Traffic Stop
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2017 / 18 season:
Writers Guild of America winners
Directors Guild of America winners
Screen Actors Guild winners
Producers Guild of America winners
Critics Choice Awards winners
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
San Diego Film Critics Society
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Toronto Film Critics Association
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Boston Society of Film Critics
Washington D.C. Film Critics Association
AFI Top 10 of 2017
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Circle
The National Board of Review