It’s like Christmas Morning for movie fans. I woke up early and had to wait around anxiously until I was given the OK to get my day started. But instead of presents under the tree, we get our names of who will be up for Academy Awards this year. There were few surprises, a few snubs and lots of well-deserved praise, with “The Shape of Water” leading the way with 13 nominations. Here’s a rundown of the “big” categories and some brief thoughts of mine.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
“Phantom Thread” had almost no momentum going into Tuesday morning so it getting Best Picture was a bit of a surprise, but well-enough earned. 2017’s best film “The Shape of Water” got in and while “Darkest Hour” is a bit of a joke, given it was going to do well below-the-line and be led by Gary Oldman yelling it isn’t a surprise. “Get Out” and “Call Me by Your Name” both held on and got their well-deserved nods, and despite being one of 2017’s best films “The Post” almost feels like an obligatory selection because of its talent, since its only other nomination was Streep. But overall, no major snubs here.
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Christopher Nolan and Guillermo de Toro finally earn themselves a Best Director nomination after years of craftsmanship, while Gerwig and Peele also earn their first career Director nominations for their directorial debuts. Paul Thomas Anderson is a bit of a surprise but once they read “Phantom Thread” as one of the Best Picture nominations the choice made a lot more sense. Martin McDonagh earned two nods for writing/producing “Three Billboards” but missed out here and just like basically everything else Steven Spielberg didn’t get in for “The Post” (although he got a nom for producing).
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.
Denzel Washington getting in here is one for the show’s few mistakes. I gave him and “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” moderately passing scores but to pick him here over the likes of Tom Hanks and James Franco is a joke; and I don’t buy that sexual misconduct allegations cost Franco his nod, they came onto the scene far too late. Cool on Kaluuya getting in, he really picked up random steam in the tail end of the year. A nomination is a nice (supposed) sendoff to Daniel Day-Lewis, but the award is Gary Oldman’s to lose.
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
Margot Robbie is the only first-time nominee here, with career names like Meryl Streep and Frances McDormand (the front-runner) getting nods. Streep will get an Oscar nomination just for showing up in a movie, but it would have been nice to see Jessica Chastain get in for “Molly’s Game” instead. Saoirse Ronan is 23 years old and already has three Oscar nominations so that’s cool, and Sally Hawkins, who speaks in sign language for most of “Shape of Water,” gets a well-deserved second career nomination. Also worth noting, while accepting her SAG award the other night, McDormand all but said “thank you for this but I’ve had my time in the spotlight, give the Oscar to young actresses [like Ronan and Robbie].” Worth keeping an eye on…
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
Christopher Plummer getting his third career nomination for a role he shot over 10 days basically as a favor is well-deserved (a term I’m throwing around a lot this morning) and a cool factoid for future generations. Frontrunner Sam Rockwell got his expected and overdue first career nom but his co-star Woody Harrelson getting his third career nomination was a bit of a surprise (he earned BAFTA and SAG nominations but was expected to be the odd-man-out). Instead, “Call Me by Your Name” stars Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg both seem to have cancelled each other out, which is a shame. Richard Jenkins and Willem Dafoe both getting in is nice, though.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water
Mary J. Blige also earned a nomination for Best Song so she is now a two-time Academy Award nominee which will forever be the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question. Holly Hunter not getting in is a bit surprising, although I cannot complain about Lesley Manville taking her spot. Just like with her work in 2016’s “Hidden Figures,” Octavia Spencer is quietly great in “The Shape of Water” although I (and apparently a lot of people) don’t see it as Oscar-worthy. Good on career TV stars Laurie Metcalf and Allison Janney, though, who will likely be the two dueling it out for the win.
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
“Logan” getting a nomination is a bit of a joke but this was a historically weak year in this category so it’s not a big surprise. Plus I like James Mangold as a filmmaker so cool on him for being an Academy Award nominee now. “The Disaster Artist” getting a nom isn’t a big surprise, it’s a fun script, but it is a little shocking it got in but Franco didn’t. Aaron Sorkin gets his third career nomination with “Molly’s Game,” arguably the weakest script of his recent career, but he was snubbed in 2015 for “Steve Jobs” so I won’t complain. “Call Me by Your Name” will probably win here, and good on career filmmaker James Ivory for it.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig also got Director nods, as did del Toro. Martin McDonagh missed out there but gets his expected nomination here and husband and wife Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani get in for their semi-biographical work on “The Big Sick.” Strong category and a good chance for the Academy to share the love come March.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The Boss Baby
When Andy Serkis started off this category by saying “The Boss Baby,” I fully expected it to be followed up with “just kidding, here are the real nominees.” My jaw hit the floor. I was jokingly pulling for it to get in but didn’t think it had an actual shot; I was satisfied with just its Golden Globe nomination. If you know me then you know “The Boss Baby” is my guilty pleasure film of 2017 and I adore its absurdity and seemingly tone-deafness towards its intended demographics, and I’m glad the Academy was willing and able to recognize it as well.
A few last things worth noting: Roger Deakins earned his 14th career nomination for Cinematography and if this isn’t the year he finally wins for his work on “Blade Runner 2049” then I will officially give up on the Academy. “This is Me” (“The Greatest Showman”) and “Mystery of Love” (“Call Me by Your Name”) both earned Best Original Song nominations which is great because they’re great songs. And “The Shape of Water” wasn’t even up, much less was one of the three films nominated, for Makeup and Hair which is a joke. The characters and creature in that film look fantastic, and I wasn’t aware only three films used makeup in 2017 (“Darkest Hour,” “Wonder” and “Victoria and Abdul”); always one of the weirdest categories at the Oscars.
The Academy Awards, hosted once again by Jimmy Kimmel, will air on ABC on March 4, 2018 at 8pm EST.
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