Oscars 2018: The Shape of Water lands a leading 13 Oscar nods

Ontario-filmed The Shape of Water leads Oscar nominations announced this morning with 13, with Get Out, Dunkirk and Lady Bird also among notable films vying for Hollywood's highest honours.

Nominees were unveiled this morning in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The Cold War-era monster romance The Shape of Water, starring Sally Hawkins, leads the 2018 Oscar nominees with 13 nods. (TIFF)

Guillermo del Toro's lavish Ontario-shot monster romance The Shape of Water fished out a leading 13 nominations, Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman nominated for best director, and Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman to earn a nod in that category in nominations announced Tuesday for the 90th annual Academy Awards.

The Shape of Water, filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, came just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations shared by All About Eve, Titanic and La La Land. Del Toro's dark fantasy scored a wide array for nominations for its cast (Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer), its sumptuous score (by Alexander Desplat) and technical craft. 

"It is a privilege to tell such stories and to be able to make films that show there is a life beyond the life that people know — one that is not always seen," said best-actress nominee Hawkins. 

Torontonian J. Miles Dale shares in the best-picture nomination for the film. 

Other Canadian nominees include Christopher Plummer, given a supporting actor nod for his last-minute substitution in All the Money in the World, director Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner 2049, which racked up a host of nods in craft categories, and the animated co-production The Breadwinner, based on the bestselling novel by Canadian Deborah Ellis.

Canadian actor Christopher Plummer is up for a supporting actor Oscar for his performance in All the Money in the World, after being parachuted in to replace disgraced actor Kevin Spacey at the last minute. (Sony Pictures)

Oscar voters put forward nine best-picture nominees:

  • 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.
Laurie Metcalf, left, and Saoirse Ronan earned acting nominations for Lady Bird, which is also vying for best picture and best director for Greta Gerwig. (TIFF)

The cascading fallout of sexual harassment scandals throughout Hollywood put particular focus on the best-director category, which for many is a symbol of gender inequality in the film industry. Gerwig follows only Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow, the sole woman to win (for The Hurt Locker).

Also nominated for best director was Get Out director Jordan Peele, the fifth black filmmaker nominated for best director, and third to helm a best-picture nominee, following Barry Jenkins last year for Moonlight. Following Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait) and James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment), he's the third person to receive best picture, director and writing nods for his first feature film. 

Daniel Kaluuya is a best-actor nominee for the horror satire Get Out, which is also a best-picture contender. (Universal Pictures/Associated Press)

Though all of the front-runners — Frances McDormand (Three Billboards), Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards) — landed their expected nominations, there were surprises.

Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.) has been nominated for best actor, likely eclipsing James Franco (Disaster Artist). Franco was accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied, just days before Oscar voting closed. The category's other nominees are: Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) and Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).

Though the favourites are largely independent films, a number of blockbusters fared well, including five nods for Blade Runner 2049, four for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, three for Baby Driver, two for Beauty and the Beast and two for Pixar's Coco, which is up for best animated feature. Still, Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, which became the highest-grossing movie ever directed by a woman, failed to receive any Oscar nods despite an awards campaign.

But the box-office hit that carved the most unlikely path to the Oscars is Get Out. It opened back in February on Oscar weekend, and went on to pocket $254.7 million US worldwide. It scored four nominations.

Diversity a work in progress

Though many minorities were still absent from the acting categories, the film academy, which has worked to diversify its membership, put forward a field of nominees almost as diverse as last year when MoonlightFences and Hidden Figures powered a rebuttal to the #OscarsSoWhite backlash of the two years prior.

Singer-actress Mary J. Blige is a best supporting actress nominee for Mudbound. (Netflix/Associated Press)

Four black actors — Washington, Kaluuya, Spencer and Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) — are among the 20 acting nominees this year.

Meryl Streep, who stars as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in The Post, notched her 21st Oscar nomination. She was joined for best actress by McDormand, Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya).

"I am honoured beyond measure by this nomination for a film I love, a film that stands in defence of press freedom and inclusion of women's voices in the movement of history," Streep said in a statement.

"Proud of the film, and all her filmmakers. Thank you from a full heart."

Last year's Oscars broadcast, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, drew 32.9 million viewers for ABC, a four per cent drop from the prior year. More worrisome, however, was a steeper slide in the key demographic of adults 18 to 49 years old, whose viewership was down 14 per cent from 2016.

Though the show ran especially long, at three hours and 49 minutes, it finished with a bang: the infamous envelope mix-up that led to La La Land being incorrectly announced as the best picture before Moonlight was crowned.

Last year's Oscars finished with a bang: the infamous envelope mix-up in which presenters Faye Dunaway, left, and Warren Beatty named La La Land best picture before Moonlight was rightfully crowned. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

This year, the academy has prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show. The accounting firm on Monday also unveiled several reforms including the addition of a third balloting partner in the show's control room. 

But the movie business has larger accounting problems. Movie attendance hit a 24-year low in 2017 despite the firepower of nominated films Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2. An especially dismal summer movie season was 92 million admissions shy of summer 2016, according to the National Alliance of Theater Owners.

Christopher Nolan's historical drama Dunkirk, which grossed $525.6 million US worldwide, is among the few box-office hits nominated for a top Oscar. (Warner Bros.)

It was a dominant if bittersweet day for 20th Century Fox. Its specialty label, Fox Searchlight, is behind both Three Billboards and The Shape of Water, and Fox released The Post. Yet those wins may soon count for the Walt Disney Co., which last month reached a deal to purchase Fox for $52.4 billion. 

Both Amazon and Netflix failed to crack the best picture category but earned nominations elsewhere. Netflix's Mudbound scored a best-supporting nod for Mary J. Blige, while Amazon's The Big Sick scored a nod for Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon's original screenplay about their real-life romance.

"At times we worried it would be insurmountable, or would rip us apart, or even worse — that no one would like it," Nanjiani and Gordon said in a joint statement. "The fact that it connected with audiences is exhilarating, and this nomination proves that our love is real. We have decided to stay married."

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 90th Academy Awards take place Sunday, March 4, in Hollywood. The ceremony begins a half-hour earlier this year, at 8 p.m. ET, and will be televised live in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.

The 90th Academy Awards take place Sunday, March 4, in Hollywood. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Nominees for the 90th 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.

Actress in a Leading Role

  • 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.

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name.
  • Daniel Day-Louis, Phantom Thread.
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out.
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour.
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound.
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya.
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread.
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird.
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water.

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • 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.

Directing

  • 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

  • Edith and Eddie.
  • Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405.
  • Heroin(e).
  • Knife Skills.
  • Traffic Stop.

Foreign Language Film

  • A Fantastic Women, Chile.
  • The Insult, Lebanon.
  • Loveless, Russia.
  • On Body and Soul, Hungary.
  • The Square, Sweden.

Animated Feature Film

  • The Boss Baby.
  • The Breadwinner.
  • Coco.
  • Ferdinand.
  • Loving Vincent.

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.

Original Score

  • Dunkirk.
  • Phantom Thread.
  • The Shape of Water.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Original Song

  • Mighty River, from Mudbound.
  • Mystery of Love, from Call Me By Your Name.
  • Remember Me, from Coco.
  • Stand Up for Something, from Marshall.
  • This is Me, from The Greatest Showman.

Cinematography

  • Blade Runner 2049.
  • Darkest Hour.
  • Dunkirk.
  • Mudbound.
  • The Shape of Water.

Costume Design

  • Beauty and the Beast.
  • Darkest Hour.
  • Phantom Thread.
  • The Shape of Water.
  • Victoria and Abdul.

Film Editing

  • Baby Driver.
  • Dunkirk.
  • I, Tonya.
  • The Shape of Water.
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Darkest Hour.
  • Victoria and Abdul.
  • Wonder.

Production Design

  • Beauty and the Beast.
  • Blade Runner 2049.
  • Darkest Hour.
  • Dunkirk.
  • The Shape of Water.

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.