By | January 23, 2018

“The Shape of Water,” a lyrical love story about a mute woman and an amphibious creature, emerged as the early front-runner in the Oscar race, racking up 13 nominations as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its list of contenders Tuesday morning.

Right behind it, Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” with eight nominations, and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” with seven, including three acting nods.

Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in "The Shape of Water."

Michael Shannon, Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in "The Shape of Water." Photo: Kerry Hayes/Associated Press

Echoes of the #metoo movement, which has prompted discussion about the barriers women face in Hollywood, could be heard in the announcement, with the Academy making history in at least one category. Until this year, no woman had been nominated for cinematography, a barrier Rachel Morrison broke with her nod for “Mudbound.”

Joe Morgenstern’s Reviews of the Best-Picture Nominees

Ms. Morrison got the news of her nomination while waiting to board a flight to the Sundance Film Festival, her 3-year-old son dozing on her shoulder. “I was trying to be incredibly excited and not wake a sleeping child at the same time,” said the 39-year-old Boston-area native.

“The fact that no woman had been nominated in this category reflects how few female cinematographers work on major movies,” she added. “We’re only 2% of the bigger movies that actually get seen, statistically. When there are five people nominated a year and we’re 2%, the odds are almost impossible.”

The director nomination of Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird,” the coming-of-age tale that marked her filmmaking debut, breaks a seven-year drought for women in that category. Earlier this month, actress Natalie Portman put a spotlight on the issue at the Golden Globes, announcing the names of the “all male nominees” for best director. The camera then cut to male directors sporting a series of sheepish expressions.

The man who won the category that evening, “The Shape of Water” director Guillermo del Toro, was also named an Oscar nominee on Tuesday.

“At age 53, I feel very happy that for the last five years we were all risking all as if we were 17,” he said. The filmmaker said he was glad Ms. Gerwig was recognized in the directing category and added of that awkward Golden Globe moment: “I actually loved it. The part I enjoy most of these ceremonies is when people go off-script and say exactly what they’re thinking—and this is the season to say exactly what you’re thinking.”

Notably absent from the list of nominees: James Franco, the star and director of “The Disaster Artist” who found himself on the defensive earlier this month after women on social media accused him of sexual misconduct in the wake of his Golden Globe win for best actor in a motion picture musical or comedy. “The Disaster Artist” scored one Oscar nomination, for adapted screenplay.

Vicky Krieps stars as "Alma" and Daniel Day-Lewis stars as "Reynolds Woodcock" in “Phantom thread.” Mr. Day-Lewis was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday for best actor for the role.

Vicky Krieps stars as "Alma" and Daniel Day-Lewis stars as "Reynolds Woodcock" in “Phantom thread.” Mr. Day-Lewis was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday for best actor for the role. Photo: Focus Features

The Weinstein Co. didn’t receive any nominations this year. Its 2017 films, including “Tulip Fever” and “Wind River,” never exploded at the box office. While at Miramax and the Weinstein Co., Harvey and Bob Weinstein have received more than 340 Oscar nominations and won more than 80 Academy Awards.

Last year, dozens of women accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct over episodes spanning several decades. Mr. Weinstein, fired by the company’s board, has apologized for his behavior with colleagues and denied claims of nonconsensual sex. After the scandal, women across the country have reported their own experiences with sexual harassment.


In other nominations, best-actor contenders include Gary Oldman, for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.” Also nominated: Timothée Chalamet, lauded for his turn as a teenager in an erotic awakening in “Call Me By Your Name,” and “Phantom Thread” lead Daniel Day-Lewis, playing a 1950s London high-fashion designer in what he called his final film role. Another standout: Daniel Kaluuya, star of the race-relations horror film “Get Out,” which also netted a best-picture nod and Oscar nominations for writer-director Jordan Peele. Like Ms. Gerwig, this is Mr. Peele’s debut as a feature-film director.

The dominance of Hollywood newcomers this year is unusual. The last time two first-time filmmakers were nominated for directing Oscars was in 2000, when Spike Jonze and Sam Mendes were in contention for “Being John Malkovich ” and “American Beauty,” respectively. Mr. Mendes took home the Oscar that year.

The list includes some surprises. “Logan,” widely praised by critics as deeper and more character-focused than other comic-book adaptations, became the first superhero film to earn a screenplay nomination. And despite the small $6 million box office take for “Phantom Thread,” the movie received six nominations, including best picture and a directing nod for Paul Thomas Anderson.

Frances McDormand solidified her lead in the Oscar race for best actress, earning a nomination for her portrayal of a grief-stricken mother battling the local police over the unsolved rape and murder of her daughter in “Three Billboards.” She has already won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for the performance.

“Frances McDormand was nominated for best actress for her role as "Mildred Hayes" “Three Billboards.”

“Frances McDormand was nominated for best actress for her role as "Mildred Hayes" “Three Billboards.” Photo: Merrick Morton/Fox Searchlight Pictures

Saoirse Ronan also received a nod for her turn as the quirky heroine of “Lady Bird,” as did Sally Hawkins for her performance in “The Shape of Water.” Meryl Streep’s best-actress nomination for her turn as Katharine Graham in “The Post” gives her a record 17 nominations in that category.

“Three Billboards” also nabbed best-supporting actor nominations for Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. The supporting actress race continues to look like a showdown between Allison Janney in “I, Tonya” and Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird,” both nominated on Tuesday in addition to Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”), who won in this category in 2012 for “The Help.”

“I can’t stop crying, and these are happy tears,” Ms. Blige, 47, said in an interview after the announcement. The singer-songwriter added that she has never attended an Oscars ceremony, but always wished she were there as she watched the show on TV. In addition to her supporting-actress nomination, her song “Mighty River” scored a nod for original song.

“I’m just really overjoyed and humbled all at the same time, because it didn’t have to be this way,” she said. “It’s a beautiful thing to be amongst all those beautiful people on that beautiful night.”

The Oscars will air live on ABC on March 4, with late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel returning as host.

Complete list of the 2018 Oscar nominations

Best motion picture of the year

• “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”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

• Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water”

• Frances McDormand in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

• Margot Robbie in “I, Tonya”

• Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird”

• Meryl Streep in “The Post”

Performance by an actor in a leading role

• Timothée Chalamet in “Call Me by Your Name”

• Daniel Day-Lewis in “Phantom Thread”

• Daniel Kaluuya in “Get Out”

• Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour”

• Denzel Washington in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

• Mary J. Blige in “Mudbound”

• Allison Janney in “I, Tonya”

• Lesley Manville in “Phantom Thread”

• Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird”

• Octavia Spencer in “The Shape of Water”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

• Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project”

• Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

• Richard Jenkins in “The Shape of Water”

• Christopher Plummer in “All the Money in the World”

• Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Animated feature film

• “The Boss Baby”

• “The Breadwinner”

• “Coco”

• “Ferdinand”

• “Loving Vincent”


• Roger A. Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

• Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”

• Hoyte van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”

• Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound”

• Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”

Costume design

• Jacqueline Durran, “Beauty and the Beast”

• Jacqueline Durran, “Darkest Hour”

• Mark Bridges, “Phantom Thread”

• Luis Sequeira, “The Shape of Water”

• Consolata Boyle, “Victoria & Abdul”


• Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”

• Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

• Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”

• Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”

• Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Documentary feature

• “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”

• “Faces Places”

• “Icarus”

• “Last Men in Aleppo”

• “Strong Island”

Documentary short subject


“Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405”


“Knife Skills”

“Traffic Stop”

Film editing

• Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, “Baby Driver”

• Lee Smith, “Dunkirk”

• Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya”

• Sidney Wolinsky, “The Shape of Water”

• Jon Gregory, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Foreign language film of the year

• “A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)

• “The Insult” (Lebanon)

• “Loveless” (Russia)

• “On Body and Soul” (Hungary)

• “The Square” (Sweden)

Makeup and hairstyling

• Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick, “Darkest Hour”

• Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard, “Victoria & Abdul”

• Arjen Tuiten, “Wonder”

Music written for motion pictures (Original score)

• Hans Zimmer, “Dunkirk”

• Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”

• Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”

• John Williams, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

• Carter Burwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Music written for motion pictures (Original song)

• “Mighty River” from “Mudbound”

Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson

• “Mystery Of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name”

Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens

• “Remember Me” from “Coco”

Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

• “Stand Up For Something” from “Marshall”

Music by Diane Warren Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn and Diane Warren

• “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman”

Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Production design

• “Beauty and the Beast”

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood

Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

• “Blade Runner 2049”

Production Design: Dennis Gassner

Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola

• “Darkest Hour”

Production Design: Sarah Greenwood

Set Decoration: Katie Spencer

• “Dunkirk”

Production Design: Nathan Crowley

Set Decoration: Gary Fettis

• “The Shape of Water”

Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry

Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin

Animated short film

• “Dear Basketball”

• “Garden Party”

• “Lou”

• “Negative Space”

• “Revolting Rhymes”

Live action short film

• “DeKalb Elementary”

• “The Eleven O’Clock”

• “My Nephew Emmett”

• “The Silent Child”

• “Watu Wote/All of Us”

Sound editing

• “Baby Driver”

• “Blade Runner 2049”

• “Dunkirk”

• “The Shape of Water”

• “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Sound mixing

• “Baby Driver”

• “Blade Runner 2049”

• “Dunkirk”

• “The Shape of Water”

• “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Visual effects

• “Blade Runner 2049”

• “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

• “Kong: Skull Island”

• “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

• “War for the Planet of the Apes”

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”

Write to Ellen Gamerman at

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