‘Shape of Water’ hopes for big Oscar night

HOLLYWOOD — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will honor the top films of 2017 March 4 at the 90th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Jimmy Kimmel will return as host.

Sci-fi fantasy romance “The Shape of Water” scored a leading 13 nominations, including a best-picture nomination that sets up an Oscar-night showdown with fellow awards-season darling “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Both films were nominated for best picture, along with “Call Me By Your Name,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Phantom Thread” and “The Post.”

“The Shape of Water” won the coveted Producers Guild of America Award for film Jan. 20, an honor that often leads to Oscar gold. The film also won the top prize at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

The crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” however, won the Golden Globe for best drama film and the Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice awards for best ensemble cast.

Frances McDormand, who has swept most pre-Oscar awards for her performance as the mother of a murdered daughter in “Three Billboards,” was nominated for best actress. She will compete with Sally Hawkins of “The Shape of Water,” Margot Robbie for “I, Tonya,” Saoirse Ronan for “Lady Bird” and Meryl Streep for “The Post.”

The nomination for Streep is the 21st of her career, and the 17th as best actress, extending her lead as the performer with the most career Oscar nominations. She previously won best actress for “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady,” and for supporting work in “Kramer vs. Kramer.”

Gary Oldman, whose portrayal of wartime British Prime Minister Winston Churchill has also earned him a raft of awards, received an Oscar nod for best actor. Also nominated were Timothee Chalamet for “Call Me By Your Name,” Daniel Day-Lewis for “Phantom Thread,” Daniel Kaluuya for “Get Out” and Denzel Washington for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Day-Lewis is a three-time Oscar winner for “My Left Foot,” “There Will Be Blood” and “Lincoln,” while Washington is a nine-time nominee and two-time winner, for his lead role in “Training Day” and supporting work in “Glory.”

McDormand — who won a best-actress Oscar for “Fargo” — and Oldman have already won Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and SAG Awards for their lead performances. Allison Janney of “I, Tonya” and Sam Rockwell of “Three Billboards” have also collected those honors for their supporting roles, making them strong Oscar front-runners.

Janney, who portrays figure skater Tonya Harding’s abusive mother, will be challenged for supporting-actress honors by Mary J. Blige for “Mudbound,” Lesley Manville for “Phantom Thread,” Laurie Metcalf for “Lady Bird” and Octavia Spencer for “The Shape of Water.”

Rockwell, who has been hailed for his work as a sheriff’s deputy in “Three Billboards,” leads a supporting-actor category that also features Willem Dafoe of “The Florida Project,” Woody Harrelson of “Three Billboards,” Richard Jenkins for “The Shape of Water” and Christopher Plummer for “All the Money in the World.”

Plummer was a late addition to the film, replacing Kevin Spacey, who was removed from the movie following allegations of sexual misconduct. At 88 years old, Plummer holds the record for the oldest acting nominee. He is also the oldest person to win an Oscar, earning a supporting-actor honor for “Beginners” at age 82.

Guillermo del Toro was nominated for best director for “The Shape of Water,” as were Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk,” Jordan Peele for “Get Out,” Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird” and Paul Thomas Anderson for “Phantom Thread.”

“Three Billboards” director Martin McDonagh was a notable snub in the category, although he did receive a nod for original screenplay for the film. Peele and Gerwig were also nominated for original screenplay, while del Toro was nominated along with Vanessa Taylor for “The Shape of Water.” Emily Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani rounded out the original screenplay category for penning “The Big Sick.”

“The Shape of Water” also earned nominations for cinematography, costume design, film editing, original score, production design, sound editing and sound mixing.

“Dunkirk” earned eight total nominations, followed by “Three Billboards” with seven and “Darkest Hour” and “Phantom Thread” with six each.

The Oscar nominations included a bonus for Laker fans, with retired star Kobe Bryant nominated with Glen Keane for their animated short film “Dear Basketball.”

Another bit of history was made when Rachel Morrison was announced as a nominee for best cinematography for her work on “Mudbound,” making her the first woman ever nominated in the category.

Composer John Williams, meanwhile, received his 51st career nomination, for his original score for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” His nomination total is second only to Walt Disney’s 59, but Williams holds the record for original-score nominations with 46. Williams’ other five nods were for original song.


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