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Oscar nominations 2018: ‘The Shape of Water’ leads with 13

  • Author: Jill Serjeant, Piya Sinha-Roy, Reuters
  • Updated: January 23
  • Published January 23

Best actress nominees (L-R) Sally Hawkins, Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan and Frances McDormand. REUTERS/Staff/File Photos

LOS ANGELES – Fox Searchlight's fantasy romance "The Shape of Water," about a woman who falls in love with a strange river creature, led the Oscar nominations on Tuesday in a wide-ranging list that embraced stories about and by women and people of color.

"The Shape of Water" earned 13 nominations, including the top prize for best picture and for Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Actors Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer also were recognized.

British World War II drama "Dunkirk," from Warner Bros., followed with eight nominations, including for director Christopher Nolan.

The Oscars, the highest honors in the industry, will be handed out at a ceremony in Hollywood on March 4, presided over by late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel.

Fox Searchlight's "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," a movie about an angry woman seeking justice for her daughter's murder that has dominated Hollywood's awards season, had seven nods, with Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell competing in the acting race.

It will contend with gay romance "Call Me By Your Name," British war film "Darkest Hour," racial thriller "Get Out," mother-daughter tale "Lady Bird," twisted romance "Phantom Thread," and press freedom movie "The Post" for the best picture award.

"I've never seen such variety that I can remember. There's something in there for everybody," said Laurie Metcalf, nominated for her supporting role in "Lady Bird."

"It all starts from the writers and writing, and they're all so creative in different ways," she told Reuters

Best actor nominees (L-R) Daniel Kaluuya, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day-Lewis, Timothee Chalamet and Gary Oldman. REUTERS/Staff/File Photos

Twentieth Century Fox and its independent film units dominated the studio tally, with 27 nominations.

After a year of headlines about sexual misconduct in Hollywood and beyond, and campaigns for female empowerment, women and their stories resonated with the 8,000 voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for a best director Oscar, for "Lady Bird." The movie also won a lead actress nomination for Saoirse Ronan and for supporting actress Metcalf.

After two years of controversy over a largely white line-up, people of color also did well. Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington and Daniel Kaluuya all got acting nods.

"Get Out," Jordan Peele's modern-day racial satire told in the form of a thriller, won directing and screenplay nominations on top of a coveted best picture nod. Interracial romantic comedy "The Big Sick" won a screenplay nomination.

Meryl Streep extended her lead as the most-nominated actor ever to 21, with her nomination for "The Post," Steven Spielberg's drama about the Washington Post's decision to publish secret papers about the Vietnam War. The film came back into the Oscar race after appearing to lose momentum earlier in the awards season.

Streep said in a statement she was honored by the nomination "for a film I love, a film that stands in defense of press freedom, and inclusion of women's voices in the movement of history."

But there were plenty of first time nominees, including Timothee Chalamet, 22, experiencing a sexual awakening in "Call Me By Your Name," Margot Robbie and Allison Janney for ice-skating movie "I, Tonya," and veteran British actress Lesley Manville for "Phantom Thread."

Nominations (by movie):

"The Shape of Water" – 13

"Dunkirk" – 8

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" – 7

"Darkest Hour" – 6

"Phantom Thread" – 6

"Blade Runner 2049″ – 5

"Lady Bird" – 5

"Call Me by Your Name" – 4

"Get Out" – 4

"Mudbound" – 4

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" – 4

The list of nominations for the 90th Academy Awards:

Reactions from The Washington Post

– Best picture

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

"The Post"

"The Shape of Water"

"Dunkirk"

"Lady Bird"

"Get Out"

"Call Me By Your Name"

"Phantom Thread"

"Darkest Hour"

Immediate reaction: Despite some controversy, "Three Billboards" is coming into the Oscars race with major momentum, after sweeping the SAG Awards and taking home the Golden Globe for best drama. But it has stiff competition from "The Shape of Water," Guillermo del Toro's fantastical romance, which is up for more awards.

Also notable: The nomination of Jordan Peele's "Get Out," which isn't your typical awards contender. The sleeper hit horror film was considered by some to be a genre movie, which may be how it ended up nominated as a comedy at the Golden Globes. This nomination is a testament to its impressive genre-bending and satirical brilliance.

– Best actress in a leading role

Frances McDormand, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Saoirse Ronan, "Lady Bird"

Sally Hawkins, "The Shape of Water"

Margot Robbie, "I, Tonya"

Meryl Streep, "The Post"

Immediate reaction: Like the best actor race, this competition seems pretty much locked with McDormand taking home the award for her role as an enraged mother trying to get to the bottom of her daughter's brutal murder. On Sunday, McDormand won the SAG Award for her portrayal just weeks after taking home the Golden Globe for best actress in a drama. If there's a long shot runner-up, it's Saoirse Ronan, who took home the equivalent prize for comedy.

– Best actor in a leading role

Gary Oldman, "Darkest Hour"

Timothee Chalamet, "Call Me By Your Name"

Daniel Day-Lewis, "Phantom Thread"

Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out"

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Immediate reaction: We can call this race right now. Oldman's portrayal of Winston Churchill – complete with major prosthetics and spot-on accent – is winning all the awards. The Oscar is all but guaranteed, and it will be Oldman's first. Meanwhile, this is Day-Lewis's last shot at an Oscar, supposedly. He has gone on record saying that "Phantom Thread" was his final film. This is his sixth nomination, and he's won three. Meanwhile, there was no love for James Franco in "The Disaster Artist," despite the fact that he was a contender at just about every other awards show. Could this have something to do with the recent allegations of sexually exploitative behavior against him?

– Best director

Christopher Nolan, "Dunkirk"

Guillermo del Toro, "The Shape of Water"

Jordan Peele, "Get Out"

Greta Gerwig, "Lady Bird"

Paul Thomas Anderson, "Phantom Thread"

Immediate reaction: Shortly after Natalie Portman poked fun at the all-male director line-up at the Golden Globes, the Oscars has responded with a much more diverse field. Gerwig is now the fifth woman to be nominated for best director, and Peele is the fifth black director. It may come as a shock that Nolan – the director of "Inception," "Memento" and the "Dark Knight" trilogy – has never won an Oscar. Could this be his year, with his nomination for the war epic "Dunkirk"?

– Actress in a supporting role

Allison Janney, "I, Tonya"

Laurie Metcalf, "Lady Bird"

Octavia Spencer, "The Shape of Water"

Mary J. Blige, "Mudbound"

Lesley Manville, "Phantom Thread"

Immediate reaction: We can call this the battle of the moms, because the front-runners play searingly memorable mothers. This is Janney's first Oscar nomination, and she's the likely winner for portraying the brutal and vindictive mother of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in "I, Tonya." But Metcalf certainly has a shot, as well, for her more nuanced role as the selectively compassionate matriarch in "Lady Bird." Then there's Mary J. Blige, who disappeared into her role in "Mudbound" as a wife and mother just trying to get by and keep her kids safe in the Jim Crow South.

– Actor in a supporting role

Sam Rockwell, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Willem Dafoe, "The Florida Project"

Richard Jenkins, "The Shape of Water"

Christopher Plummer, "All the Money in the World"

Woody Harrelson, "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Immediate reaction: There isn't a lot of drama with these acting categories. Rockwell has won the Golden Globe and the SAG Award for playing a racist rube of a police officer in "Three Billboards." Given that, he's widely thought to be the favorite. One of the big shockers of the morning was the fact that his co-star, Harrelson, is also up for a prize. It's also notable that Plummer made the list. The Oscar winner is up for "All the Money in the World," a movie he joined after it was already shot – the result of director Ridley Scott deciding to replace Kevin Spacey after the actor was accused of sexual assault.

– Best animated feature film

"Coco"

"Loving Vincent"

"The Breadwinner"

"Ferdinand"

"Boss Baby"

Immediate reaction: "The Boss Baby" again!? The movie also made a surprise appearance on the Golden Globes animation list, proving what a subpar year this was for animated features. Still, the absence of "The Lego Batman Movie" seems like a snub. As always, Pixar occupies one of the nomination spots, alongside a couple more artsy picks. If this award is based purely on technical achievement, then the drama "Loving Vincent" should have a fighting chance. Each of the film's 65,000 frames is an oil painting, created by a classically trained artist mimicking Vincent van Gogh's work.

– Best adapted screenplay

"Call Me By Your Name," James Ivory

"Mudbound," Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

"Molly's Game," Aaron Sorkin

"The Disaster Artist," Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

"Logan," Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green

Immediate reaction: "Molly's Game" marked Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut. He wasn't singled out in that category, but he appears here doing what he does best: writing. This is his third nomination, after having won once already for "The Social Network." This is the lone nomination for "The Disaster Artist." It will be vying against "Logan," which is a bit of an outlier – it's not often you see a superhero movie up for best screenplay. Although Rees didn't make the cut for best director, she still got some love from the Academy for her impressive work adapting the screenplay from the novel by Hillary Jordan. Rees is the first black woman in 45 years – and second ever – to be nominated for a screenplay Oscar. The first was Suzanne de Passe for "Lady Sings the Blues" in 1973.

– Best original screenplay

"Get Out," Jordan Peele

"Lady Bird," Greta Gerwig

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Martin McDonagh

"The Shape of Water," Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

"The Big Sick," Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani

Immediate reaction: There are a lot of familiar names on this list, as Peele, Gerwig and del Toro are all in the best director category as well. It's a pleasant surprise to see the summer sleeper "The Big Sick" make the list after it was shut out during the Golden Globes. The romantic comedy is based on the real-life relationship of its husband-and-wife writing team.

– Best foreign language film

"Loveless"

"A Fantastic Woman"

"The Square"

"The Insult"

"On Body and Soul"

Immediate reaction: "A Fantastic Woman" is getting the most buzz in this category. The Chilean film follows a transgender woman navigating the loss of her boyfriend. The big surprise here is the absence of Germany's submission, "In the Fade," which won the Golden Globe and made waves thanks to Diane Kruger's powerhouse lead performance.

– Best documentary

"Faces Places"

"Strong Island"

"Last Men in Aleppo"

"Icarus"

"Abacus: Small Enough to Jail"

Immediate reaction: It's a shock that "Jane" didn't make the cut. Brett Morgan's film about primatologist Jane Goodall could have been the favorite to win. Its absence makes way for the French crowd-pleaser "Faces Places," which follows the unlikely friendship of the 89-year-old director Agnes Varda and the young muralist JR during a road trip through rural France. Meanwhile, Netflix got a boost in this category thanks to nominations for "Strong Island" and "Icarus." The streaming network was also behind the feature film "Mudbound," which is up for four awards.

– Best original song

"Remember Me," "Coco"

"Mighty River," "Mudbound"

"This Is Me," "The Greatest Showman"

"Mystery of Love," "Call Me By Your Name"

"Stand Up for Something," "Marshall"

Immediate reaction: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have a shot at winning this award two years in a row. The pair, which recently won the Golden Globe for "This Is Me," also won the Oscar last year for "City of Stars" from "La La Land." The nomination for "Mighty River" means that Mary J. Blige will be up for an award in two categories. The Grammy winner co-wrote the song with Raphael Saadiq.

– Best cinematography

"Blade Runner 2049," Roger Deakins

"The Shape of Water," Dan Laustsen

"Dunkirk," Hoyte Van Hoytema

"Mudbound," Rachel Morrison

"Darkest Hour," Bruno Delbonnel

Immediate reaction: There are two headlines in this category. The first is the fact that Morrison's presence marks the first time a woman has been nominated for cinematography. The second is Deakins, who is up for his 14th Academy Award and has never won. Will this be his year? It's certainly possible. His work on "Blade Runner" was stunning, plus it would be a long time coming.

– Best production design

"The Shape of Water," Paul D. Austerberry

"Blade Runner 2049," Dennis Gassner

"Dunkirk," Nathan Crowley

"Darkest Hour," Sarah Greenwood

"Beauty and the Beast," Sarah Greenwood

Immediate reaction: It's hard to find much fault in this category where production designers created some memorable visual worlds. This is Austerberry's first nomination, but he has a good shot for his work on "The Shape of Water," recreating a mid-century America punctuated by fantastical elements. His big competition is from Gassner who has won once before, decades ago for "Bugsy," and conjured up a stunning futuristic world with cities filled with fluorescent sensory overload alongside post-apocalyptic desertscapes.

– Best film editing

"Dunkirk," Lee Smith

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," John Gregory

"The Shape of Water," Sidney Wolinsky

"Baby Driver," Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss

"I, Tonya," Tatiana S. Riegel

Immediate reaction: This is a solid list, though it would have been nice to see "All the Money in the World" editor Claire Simpson in the mix. Her work may not have been as flashy as, say, Smith's, but she managed to re-edit all of the scenes with Kevin Spacey – who was replaced by Christopher Plummer – in just nine days.

– Best original score

"The Shape of Water," Alexandre Desplat

"Dunkirk," Hans Zimmer

"Phantom Thread," Jonny Greenwood

"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," Carter Burwell

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi," John Williams

Immediate reaction: There are a lot of usual suspects in this category, with nine-time nominee (and one-time winner) Desplat and 10-time nominee (and one-time winner) Zimmer, plus the legendary Williams of "Star Wars" fame. He's already won five and could have easily been nominated for "The Post" as well. But this is the first nomination for long-time Paul Thomas Anderson collaborator Greenwood, who also happens to be a member of Radiohead.

– Best visual effects

"War for the Planet of the Apes," Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

"Blade Runner 2049," John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick

"Kong: Skull Island," Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

Immediate reaction: This is the category where the Academy spreads the love to some of the less typical nominees. There's simply no other place where "Kong: Skull Island" would have a shot, but the movie impressively conjured up a land where massive beasts, monsters and gorillas roam. Most likely, though, the winner here will be "War for the Planet of the Apes," which featured motion-capture performances from Andy Serkis and Steve Zahn that were so expressive that they made the ape characters more sympathetic than the humans.

– Best costume design

"Phantom Thread," Mark Bridges

"Beauty and the Beast," Jacqueline Durran

"The Shape of Water," Luis Sequeira

"Darkest Hour," Jacqueline Durran

"Victoria and Abdul," Consolata Boyle

Immediate reaction: Of course "Phantom Thread" would make the list. The movie follows a fastidious fashion designer who dreams up gorgeously lush dresses. Still, it's sad to see that Katharine Graham's caftan in "The Post" didn't get a mention.

– Best makeup and hair styling

"Wonder," Arjen Tuiten

"Darkest Hour," Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

"Victoria and Abdul," Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

Immediate reaction: Gary Oldman is known for being a chameleon; still it was no small task turning the svelte actor into a corpulent World War II-era Winston Churchill for "Darkest Hour." You can see why that movie is shaping up to be the front-runner.

– Best sound editing

"Baby Driver," Julian Slater

"Dunkirk," Richard King and Alex Gibson

"Blade Runner 2049," Mark Mangini and Theo Green

"The Shape of Water," Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

– Best sound mixing

"Dunkirk"

"The Shape of Water"

"Baby Driver"

"Blade Runner 2049"

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

– Best documentary short subject

"Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405"

"Edith+Eddie"

"Knife Skills"

"Heroin(e)"

"Traffic Stop"

– Best animated short film

"Lou"

"Dear Basketball"

"Negative Space"

"Garden Party"

"Revolting Rhymes"

– Best live action short film

"My Nephew Emmett"

"DeKalb Elementary"

"The Silent Child"

"Watu Wote / All of Us"

"The Eleven O'Clock"

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