The monster-movie “The Shape of Water” became the film to beat at Tuesday’s announcement of the Oscar nominees, leading the way with 13 nods in categories ranging from sound mixing all the way up to best picture and best director for Guillermo del Toro.
Trailing far behind were Christopher Nolan’s World War II film, “Dunkirk,” with eight nominations, and Martin McDonagh’s small-town drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” with seven.
The nominations featured a handful of firsts and rarities in several categories. Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman ever nominated for best director, for her coming-of-age film “Lady Bird,” which earned an impressive five nods overall, including for best picture. Likewise, Jordan Peele became the fifth black director nominated for his racially-charged horror-satire, “Get Out,” which is also competing for best picture. (One woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has won a directing Oscar, for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010; no black person ever has.) Rachel Morrison became the first female cinematographer ever nominated, for the Southern drama “Mudbound.” That movie also earned the singer Mary J. Blige her first-ever Oscar nod for supporting actress and another for original song.
Of local note, Long Island filmmaker Yance Ford earned a nomination for best documentary. Ford’s first-person feature, “Strong Island,” told the story of his brother, a black man who was shot to death in Central Islip by a white car mechanic in 1992. The case never went to trial. In a statement, Ford said: “Thanks to the Academy for this incredible recognition of Strong Island a creative leap of faith made possible by so many talented people. Exposing the flaws in our criminal justice system by magnifying the humanity of one man has always been the goal of ‘Strong Island.’ Thank you so much for seeing my brother, William Ford Jr.”
Ford also made history by becoming the first trans director to be nominated for an Oscar.
Most other categories fell largely along expected lines. Frances McDormand, who plays a grieving mother in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Sally Hawkins, who plays a mute woman in “The Shape of Water,” both earned nominations for best actress. Gary Oldman, as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” and Timothée Chalamet, as a precocious teenager in “Call Me By Your Name,” will compete for best actor. One notable absence in that category was James Franco, who earned a Golden Globe for his comedic portrayal of an eccentric filmmaker in “The Disaster Artist.” Allegations of sexual misconduct against Franco surfaced around the time Oscar voters were submitting their nominations.
Another film buffeted by unflattering headlines, “All the Money in the World,” also got sidelined by the Oscars. It earned only one nomination, for supporting actor Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey after that actor was accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Stories about a vast gender gap in pay between two actors — Mark Wahlberg, who received $1.5 million for extra work on the film, and Michelle Williams, who received only about $1,000 — may also have hurt the film’s Oscar chances.
The best picture category was limited to nine titles, though rules allow for ten. Movies that didn’t make the cut included the Tonya Harding biopic “I, Tonya,” though Allison Janney earned a supporting actress nomination as the skater’s abusive mother, and the semi-autobiographical romance “The Big Sick,” which received an original screenplay nod for spouses Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani.
The Academy Awards ceremony will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and broadcast live on ABC Sunday, March 4.
“Call Me By Your Name”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
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”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”