Os­car vot­ers make their choices

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Jake Coyle As­so­ci­ated Press Film Writer

NEW YORK — Guillermo del Toro’s lav­ish 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” di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy Rachel Mor­ri­son made his­tory as the first woman nom­i­nated for best cin­e­matog­ra­phy in nom­i­na­tions an­nounced for the 90th an­nual Academy Awards.

Os­car vot­ers put for­ward nine best- pic­ture nom­i­nees: “The Shape of Wa­ter,” Martin McDonaugh’s rage- fu­eled comic drama “Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing, Mis­souri,” Ger­wig’s nu­anced com­ing-of-age tale “Lady Bird,” 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.”

“The Shape of Wa­ter” landed just shy of ty­ing the record of 14 nom­i­na­tions by “All About Eve,” “Ti­tanic” and “La La Land.” Del Toro’s dark fan­tasy — a Cold War era ode to out­siders about a mute clean­ing lady and an am­phibi­ous crea­ture — scored 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.

Reached by phone in Los Angeles, del Toro said he would cel­e­brate by work­ing and eat­ing an ex­tra chicken sausage for break­fast. “That will be my in­dul­gence for the day.”

The Mex­i­can filmmaker said “The Shape of Wa­ter” has res­onated be­cause it ex­plodes “the myth of ‘us and them.’”

“You re­al­ize that we are all, in some way or another, a bit of an out­sider in dif­fer­ent ways,” said del Toro. “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.”

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 in- dus­try. Ger­wig fol­lows only Lina Wert­muller, Jane Cam­pion, Sofia Cop­pola and Kathryn Bigelow, the sole woman to win (for “The Hurt Locker”).

Also nom­i­nated f or best di­rec­tor was Peele. He 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”).

“What’s the op­po­site of the Sunken Place?” said Peele on Twit­ter.

Though all of the act­ing 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.”) was 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 were a re­tir­ing veteran — Daniel Day-Lewis for what he’s said is his fi­nal per­for­mance (“Phan­tom Thread”) — and a pair of break­outs: Ti­mothee Cha­la­met (“Call Me By Your Name”) and “Daniel Kalu­uya (“Get Out”).

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, 88-year-old Plum­mer is the old­est act­ing nom­i­nee ever.

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