The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 90th Academy Awards on Jan. 23. Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis joined Academy President John Bailey to announce the nominees. Pre-recorded segments starring Priyanka Chopra, Rosario Dawson, Gal Gadot, Salma Hayek, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana, Molly Shannon, Rebel Wilson and Michelle Yeoh accompanied the nominations in the technical categories.
Voted upon by the Academy’s 7,258 inducted members, these awards, also known as the Oscars, honor the best films of the preceding year in 24 categories. Academy members are considered the greatest in their crafts (acting, directing, producing, writing, editing, etc.); however, protests like #OscarsSoWhite put the roster of Academy’s members under the microscope.
With 774 new members this year, the Academy now feels fresher and more diverse in its representation of gender, ethnicity and geography than in the past. This change in its voting body perhaps acted as a catalyst to the impressive and groundbreaking new batch of nominations.
To keep last year’s #envelopegate from happening again, the Academy has put new regulations in place. Three ballot partners will work together backstage instead of two. In the control room, someone must have the winners memorized. At rehearsals, presenters will practice the protocol for if there is another mishap. Finally, at the awards, the presenters themselves must verbally confirm backstage that they know they have the correct envelope before they go on stage.
The Academy showed major love for Jordan Peele, giving him a trio of nominations. Not only was Peele nominated for producing “Get Out” as a Best Picture nominee but he was also individually honored with nods for Directing and Original Screenplay. For a film that many questioned how the Academy would react, it certainly cleaned up well on nomination morning.
Also see: Frannotated: Oscar Predictions (Jan. 15)
Also see: Frannotated: Oscar Predictions (Jan. 26)
Also see: Frannotated: Oscar Predictions (Feb. 2)
Trailblazing women drive this year’s nominations on screen, both behind the camera and within the films’ narratives. Four of the nine Best Picture nominees center on a female protagonist.
Meryl Streep received her 21st acting nomination for her work in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” breaking her own nomination record. Netflix’s “Mudbound” broke three records: Its cinematographer, Rachel Morrision, made history as the first woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography; Dee Rees became the first African American woman nominated in a screenplay category; and Mary J. Blige’s double nominations make her the first person to be nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year. And ending an eight-year all-male streak, Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director.
In fact, several past nominees and winners broke records with their nominations this year.
At age 88, Christopher Plummer, who previously won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the film “Beginners,” now holds the title of the oldest person to receive an acting nod. Shot over only nine days, his nominated performance in “All the Money in the World” came as a replacement for Kevin Spacey who was cut from the finished movie after sexual misconduct allegations arose.
Out of the 341 films the Academy deemed eligible for Best Picture, nine were nominated. In October of 2009, the Academy changed the number of Best Picture nominees from five to up to 10. In order for a film to be chosen as a nominee, the film must earn five-percent of first-place rankings, meaning some years there are less than 10 films the meet this requirement.
This year, “Call Me by Your Name,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” “Phantom Thread,” “The Post,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” all made the cut. Noticeably missing from the list: “The Big Sick,” “The Disaster Artist, “The Florida Project,” “I, Tonya,” “Mudbound,” and “Wonder Woman.”
The surprising Best Picture nomination for “Phantom Thread” really shook up the race. After receiving very limited attention throughout awards season, its six nominations from the Academy seemed to come out of nowhere.
Writer-Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s inclusion in the Directing category surprised many critics. Having previously been nominated for his writing, “Phantom Thread” marks the first time the Academy has recognized his directorial work. Daniel Day-Lewis, a three-time Oscar winner already, gives his final screen performance in the film before his announced retirement commences. Lesley Manville also pulled off a surprise nomination in the category of Best Supporting Actress.
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” continued its high nomination streak. With 13 nominations, it is just one shy of tying the record of 14 held by “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and last year’s mistaken winner, “La La Land.” Will all these nominations result in a best picture win for the controversial fantasy film? As many films before it have learned, being the most nominated film in the room never guarantees taking home the night’s biggest prize—or many awards at all.
Best Picture front runner “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” received nine nods, three of which were acting nominations for Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. Its director, Martin McDonagh, was snubbed in the directing category but nominated for his writing of the film’s screenplay.
With the crucial Directing nod missing, can “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” still walk away with Best Picture?
Its SAG nomination and win for Best Ensemble indicates that it might have the ability to collect enough second- and third-place votes to pull off the win through the Academy’s preferential ballot system that is only used in the Best Picture Category.
The acting categories feature a mixture of award season favorites and surprises. Each category had its own shake ups, shaping the race. It will be interesting to see if these snubs and surprise nominees will pose a threat to the four performers who have swept the awards season: Frances McDormand, Gary Oldman, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell.
This year’s Best Actor race examined its actors off screen as much, if not more, than it did on screen. After sexual misconduct allegations arose, the Oscar path for Golden Globe winner James Franco was uncertain. His accusers went public two days before voting ended. Many Academy members said they wished they could retract their nominations for him due to the claims that surfaced through the #MeToo movement. Many considered Franco to be the front runner for the Oscar for his performance as the infamous Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist.”
Veteran actors and former winners, “Phantom Thread” lead Daniel Day-Lewis and Denzel Washington in the title role of “Roman J. Israel, Esq.,” managed to make the cut even though they were never considered sure things in this year’s race. Although “Get Out” star Daniel Kaluuya had been nominated at all the precursor awards, some questioned if the Academy would embrace the film or snub it completely. With “The Disaster Artist” star now officially out of the race, it seems 2017 breakout star Timothée Chalamet of “Call Me by Your Name” and beloved character actor Gary Oldman, who plays Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” will go head to head for Best Actor.
Tom Hanks, who many expected to get a nod for “The Post,” continues to be snubbed in this category despite producing excellent work.
Going into awards season, Sally Hawkins of “The Shape of Water” was the predicted front winner for the Oscar. While she and the film secured nominations, her current rankings seems more in the middle of the pack now. Meryl Streep’s nomination for “The Post” is not a surprise but she is certainly not considered a real threat to the likes of front runner McDormand. If Margot Robbie of “I, Tonya” can continue to build momentum, she may be able to pull off an upset.
And despite losing some crucial wins early in awards season, “Lady Bird” star Saoirse Ronan is seen as the dark horse of this race. Jessica Chastain and even Gal Gadot, of “Molly’s Game” and “Wonder Woman,” respectfully, each individually had a lot of critical and fan support but were snubbed by the Academy. Many expected last year’s Best Actress Oscar winner Emma Stone to get a back-to-back nomination for her work in “Battle of the Sexes,” but her campaign fizzled out mid-awards season.
Having won all the major awards leading up to the Oscars, the Supporting Actor Oscar is Rockwell’s to loose. Some still feel that he could slip the vote with his “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” co-star Harrelson.
Willem Dafoe of “The Florida Project” has lost a lot of momentum and his film’s failure to score nominations in Best Picture, Director, and Support Actress hurt his chances.
Richard Jenkins’s great work in “The Shape of Water” ultimately feels like a filler nomination compared to the other nominees; although, in a weaker year, Jenkins could have won for this performance.
Christopher Plummer pulled off an impressive surprise nomination for his work “All the Money in the World” where he replaced the fallen from grace Kevin Spacey.
The Academy snubbed several actors expected to join the Best Supporting Actor race. The two supporting players of “Call Me By Your Name,” Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg, as well as Steve Carrell of “Battle of the Sexes,” were all left out despite receiving constant nominations in the precursors. Ray Ramano’s snub came along with the film’s shutout from every category accept Best Original Screenplay.
Although the great character actress Allison Janney of “I, Tonya” appears to be unstoppable, Best Supporting Actress could very well go to Laurie Metcalf for her work in “Lady Bird.” With the revival of “Roseanne” approaching, Metcalf could use it to her advantage.
Netflix finally got an acting nomination through Mary J. Blige in “Mudbound.” The singer impressively made the transition to actress.
Octavia Spencer, a previous winner in this category for her performance in “The Help,” scored her third career nomination for “The Shape of Water” and second nomination in a row. Manville’s surprise nomination took the spot that was predicted to belong to Hong Chau of “Downsizing” or Holly Hunter of “The Big Sick.”
Over the next month, anything could happen in the Oscar race as the nominees continue to campaign. The 90th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel for the second year in a row, will air on ABC on March 4.