24 Jan 2018

The surprises and snubs of the Oscar nominations

11:52 am on 24 January 2018

Sexy fish: in! Creepy James Franco: out.



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Photo: Unknown

The list of Oscar nominations is out and what a list it is! At a time when one can barely hear oneself think over the doomsayers forecasting the death of Hollywood cinemas by way of franchise overload and streaming service sabotage, the Oscar nominations are bizarrely a bit of a beacon of hope.

With Guillermo del Toro’s sexy fish movie The Shape of Water leading the nominations and Jordan Peele’s horror-comedy Get Out snagging nods for best director, screenplay and picture (in the process making him the first black director to ever receive three nominations), it was a good year for genre movies, the likes of which rarely make it to the Oscars. Even X Men spinoff Logan is in with a chance for best adapted screenplay!

There were, of course, also the usual suspects. Meryl Streep, who it is illegal not to nominate, received her 21st Oscar nod for The Post, while Christopher Nolan’s excellent WWII epic Dunkirk and Martin McDonagh’s middle American melodrama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri slid in with eight and seven nominations respectively.

BUT WHERE ARE THE NEW ZEALANDERS I hear you cry, sweating profusely as you gesture furiously toward the Wellywood sign. Well there are some, and with Weta Digital in the running for best visual effects for their work on War for The Planet of The Apes and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that once more Kiwis will have the chance to conquer the Oscars.

It was also a fun year for snubs, of which there were plenty.

James Franco, initially thought to be a shoo-in for his work on The Disaster Artist only to be soiled by allegations of sexual misconduct, is one of the most conspicuous absentees in the nominations, along with The Post’s Steven Spielberg, The Florida Project’s Sean Baker, and Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins. Call Me by Your Name’s Armie Hammer - poor, poor Armie Hammer - also missed out, allowing him to continue on down his peculiar path as Hollywood’s most cookie cutter underdog.

Having undergone changes to their voting body after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the nominations are clearly intended to reflect an academy with less old, white, male, stupid people and, fortunately for them, they do. Along with Peele becoming just the fifth African-American nominee in the best director category, Lady Bird writer-director Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman nominated to be nominated in the same category, while Mudbound cinematographer Rachel Morrison became the first woman nominated in her category in the Oscars’ entire history.

So are things looking up for the Oscars? Perhaps! After a Golden Globes that grappled surprisingly well - albeit not perfectly - with a post-Weinstein industry, the pressure is on for the Academy Awards to complete their reinvention from stuffy sycophant convention to fun woke party. Can they do it? We’ll have to wait for March 4th (or actually 5th for us antipodeans) to find out.


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

Best actor

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

Best actress

  • Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Meryl Streep - The Post
  • Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan - Lady Bird

Best director

  • Guillermo del Toro - The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele - Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
  • Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread

Best supporting actor

  • Willem Dafoe - The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins - The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Christopher Plummer - All the Money in the World
  • Woody Harrelson - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best supporting actress

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

Best original screenplay

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri