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culture THE FILMS COMPETING FOR THE GOLDEN statuetteS

Fresh voices lead way in Oscar nominations

Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water up in 13 categories; Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele get nod for best director.

Sunday 28 January, 2018
An Oscar statue is displayed at the Oscars outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
An Oscar statue is displayed at the Oscars outside the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Foto:AP/Invision/Matt Sayles

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The Academy Awards showered outsiders, on screen and off this week, with milestone-setting nominations that celebrated Guillermo del Toro’s full-hearted ode to outcasts The Shape of Water, embraced first-time filmmakers like Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele, and made Mudbound director of photography Rachel Morrison the first woman ever nominated for best cinematography.

In nominations that spanned young and old, studio blockbusters and passion-fuelled indies, the 90th annual Academy Awards on Tuesday gave many who have long been shunned by the movie business — women directors, transgender filmmakers, minority actors, even Netflix — something to cheer about.

Leading all nominees with 13 nods, including best picture, was The Shape of Water, by veteran Mexican filmmaker del Toro, whose Cold War-era fantasy is about a mute office cleaner (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with an amphibious creature. But the nominations also carried forward some of the ongoing reckoning of the “Me Too” movement that has been felt especially acutely in Hollywood, where male filmmakers outnumber women by a ratio of approximately 12-to-1.

Gerwig, the writer-director of the nuanced coming-of-age tale Lady Bird, became just the fifth woman nominated for best director, following Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow, the sole woman to win, for The Hurt Locker. Speaking by phone Tuesday from Los Angeles, Gerwig said the distinction was extremely meaningful.

“When I think about Kathryn Bigelow winning and me sitting there watching it and feeling suddenly like, ‘It’s possible,’” said Gerwig. “To be nominated as the fifth woman, I hope that what it does is that women of all ages look at it and they also find the spark within themselves that says: ‘Now I have to go make my movie.’ That’s what I want. And I want it selfishly because I want to see their stories.”

Morrison posted Twitter of her nomination: “I hope it tells all the dreamers out there (especially the young girls with cameras in their hands) that anything is possible.”

WIDE OPEN

In what’s been a wide-open awards season, Oscar voters chose nine best-picture nominees, including four with female protagonists: The Shape of Water, Lady Bird, Martin McDonaugh’s rage-fuelled comic drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jordan Peele’s horror sensation Get Out, Joe Wright’s Winston Churchill drama Darkest Hour, Steven Spielberg’s timely newspaper drama The Post, Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk, Luca Guadagnino’s tender love story Call Me By Your Name and Paul Thomas Anderson’s twisted romance Phantom Thread.

One of Gerwig’s first calls of congratulations was to another first-time filmmaker, Peele. The two have been brought together by Hollywood’s months-long Oscar campaigning and their mutual rookie status. (Gerwig previously co-directed a small feature.)

Peele becomes the fifth black filmmaker nominated for best director, and the third to helm a best-picture nominee, following Barry Jenkins last year for Moonlight. He’s also the third person to receive best picture, director and writing nods for his first feature film after Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait) and James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment).

MESSAGE OF HOPE

The Shape of Water landed just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations, scoring a wide array for nominations for its cast (Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer), del Toro’s directing, its sumptuous score (by Alexandre Desplat) and its technical craft.

“You realise that we are all, in some way or another, a bit of an outsider in different ways,” said del Toro of his film’s resonance. “Not fearing the other but embracing the other is the only way to go as a race. The urgency of that message of hope and emotion is what sustained the faith for roughly half a decade that the movie needed to be made.”

All of the acting front-runners — Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell — landed their expected nominations. But there were plenty of surprises and more than a few landmarks in the nominations announced from Los Angeles ahead of the March 4 ceremony, to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Meryl Streep scored her 21st nomination,  and composer John Williams (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) his 51st. Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World, also sneaked into the best supporting actor category. Added to the film in reshoots little more than a month before the film’s release, the 88-year-old is now the oldest acting nominee ever.

In other headline news a landmark Chilean drama with a transgender star is among the five contenders for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Sebastián Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman centres on a transgender woman (trans actress Daniela Vega) who is shunned by her lover’s family after his death. It has been hailed as a milestone in representing transgender characters.


Nominees for the 90th annual Academy Awards


Best Picture

– Call Me by Your Name

– Darkest Hour

– Dunkirk,

– Get Out

– Lady Bird

– Phantom Thread

– The Post

– The Shape of Water

– Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actor

– Timothee 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.

Actress

– 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

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

Supporting Actress

– Mary J. Blige, Mudbound

– Allison Janney, I, Tonya

– Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

– Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

– Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Direction

– Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan

– Get Out, Jordan Peele

– Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

– Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson

– The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

Foreign Language Film

– A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

– The Insult (Lebanon)

– Loveless (Russia)

– On Body and Soul (Hungary)

– The Square (Sweden).

Adapted Screenplay

– Call Me By Your Name

– The Disaster Artist

– Logan

– Molly’s Game

– Mudbound

Original Screenplay

– The Big Sick

– Get Out

– Lady Bird

– The Shape of Water

– Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Animated Feature Film

– Boss Baby

– The Breadwinner

– Coco

– Ferdinand

– Loving Vincent

Cinematography

– Blade Runner 2049

– Darkest Hour

– Dunkirk

– Mudbound

– The Shape of Water

Documentary Feature

– Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

– Faces Places

– Icarus

– Last Men in Aleppo

– Strong Island

Documentary (short subject)

– Edith+Eddi

– Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

– Heroin(e)

– Knife Skills

– Traffic Stop

Poll

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