I made my predictions, I was ready to watch the nomination announcement, and I gave my live-reactions on Twitter. But I’ve got more to say, and I’ll do that here in this week’s Special Features. Let’s talk about the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards!
Cancel the think-pieces and delete the social media rants you had prepared! Both Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig were nominated for Best Director. In fact, Jordan Peele reportedly became the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for directing, producing, and writing in the same year, whereas Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for Best Director.
Speaking of making history, Rachel Morrison became the first female cinematographer nominee, and, incredibly, she did it with a Netflix film. Christopher Nolan also got his very first Oscar nomination for Best Director. In a great surprise, James Mangold’s Logan became the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for a Screenplay Oscar, when it was revealed to have been nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay-category.
That was just one of the moments that made nomination day a huge win for genre films. With Get Out and The Shape of Water, a horror film and a monster movie were both nominated for Best Picture and Best Director — they both got screenplay and acting nominations as well.
Actually, The Shape of Water — a monster movie — just became the undisputed Best Picture frontrunner. It received 13 nominations, and it is the only film nominated for Best Picture, which is also nominated for a screenplay award, the Best Editing Oscar, and Best Director Oscar.
So, when we talk about films that underperformed, we simply must start with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which, until today, was one of two frontrunners. McDonagh did not manage to score a Best Director nomination at the Oscars, but, somewhat surprisingly, both Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell were nominated for Best Supporting Actor — the latter actor was expected to be nominated but the former wasn’t really.
Steven Spielberg’s The Post only managed to get two nominations — Best Picture and Best Actress. James Franco did not get the Best Actor nomination that many thought he would for The Disaster Artist, and neither Armie Hammer nor Michael Stuhlbarg were nominated for their performances in Call Me By Your Name. They are some of the surprising underperforming films. On the other end of the spectrum, Victoria & Abdul, Beauty and the Beast, and, to some even, Star Wars: The Last Jedi overperformed.
Honestly, when it was all said and done, I was pretty happy with this year’s Oscar nominations, even though my personal favorite film of 2017 (Blade Runner 2049) only got below-the-line nominations. I never expected Blade Runner 2049 to get the biggest awards at the Oscars, even though I do think it certainly deserved all of them. It made me happy when the BAFTAs gave it a huge nomination, and I’ll be equally ecstatic if Roger Deakins ends up winning his first Oscar for this film, but I digress.
It also made me very happy to see that Baby Driver got the three nominations that it simply had to get (Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Film Editing). I was, admittedly, disappointed with how The LEGO Batman Movie was snubbed, but, then again, I did expect it to miss out here. Not even The LEGO Movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature. It doesn’t seem like the Academy played with legos when they grew up.
The biggest story on nomination day, however, has to be Christopher Plummer. He walked into a role already played by another actor. He got nine or ten days on set to reshoot the scenes. And, now, he gets an Oscar-nomination. He is fantastic in All the Money in the World, so I’d definitely say that he deserves it. But it’s an incredible story.
– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen