Oscar nominations analysis: 90th Academy Awards marking multiple milestones for women and diversity

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Greta Gerwig appears on the set of "Lady Bird." A24 Films photo

Greta Gerwig appears on the set of “Lady Bird.” A24 Films photo

The 90th Academy Awards seem to be shaping up to be the most diverse ever.

In the wake of #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo and a cavalcade of sexual misconduct scandals brought to light after explosive investigative reports about Harvey Weinstein, the 2018 Oscar nominations marked several milestones for women, African-Americans and transgender people making movies.

Guillermo Del Toro’s grown-up fairy tale “The Shape of Water” received a leading 13 nods when the nominations were announced for the 90th Academy Awards.

Christopher Nolan’s historical epic “Dunkirk” followed with eight nominations, while Martin McDonagh’s harrowing crime drama “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” the top winner at the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, earned seven nods.

All three made it onto the list of best picture finalists. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences can pick up to 10 films to contend for the top award, but this year went with nine. The others include the romantic dramas “Call Me By Your Name” and “Phantom Thread,” the socially aware thriller “Get Out,” the journalism drama “The Post,” the World War II biopic “Darkest Hour” and the coming-of-age story “Lady Bird.”

“Lady Bird” writer-director Greta Gerwig becomes just the fifth woman in Oscars history to be nominated for best director, after Lina Wertmuller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). Bigelow is the only woman to win the best director Oscar.

“There are so many great films this year, and to be included among them as a woman means so much… The women who have been filmmakers who are both my peers and the ones who have come before me have meant so much to me, and they’re the reason that I found the courage to do this,” Gerwig told EW.com. “I remember when Sofia Coppola was nominated and how much that meant to me. I remember when Kathryn Bigelow won and what that felt like, and I feel like those women are the reason I was able to do this. When I think about it — and I think about women of all ages — I hope that they look at this and they think, ‘I’m going to go make my movie.’

“I just keep feeling like I want more female storytellers and I want it quite selfishly because I want to see their stories. I want to watch their movies,” she added, choking up.

“Lady Bird” is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, best actress for Saoirse Ronan, best supporting actress for Laurie Metcalf, and best original screenplay for Gerwig. The coming-of-age tale is the 13th film directed by a woman to be nominated for best picture, according to Deadline Hollywood, and the fourth movie written and directed by women to receive nominations both for best picture and writing. (Editor’s Note: Greta Gerwig won two 2017 AWFJ EDA Awards for “Lady Bird”).

Jordan Peele appears on the set of "Get Out." Universal Pictures photo

Jordan Peele appears on the set of “Get Out.” Universal Pictures photo

Similarly, “Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele becomes just the fifth black helmer in Oscars history to be nominated for best director, following John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) and Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”). “Get Out” also was nominated for best original screenplay, again for Peele, best actor Daniel Kaluuya and best picture.

“It means a lot, it means a lot,” Peele told EW.com of his best director nod. “You know, I think the reason I put off my dream of directing to possibly never happen is because there was such a limited amount of role models, of black role models, in the field. Spike Lee, John Singleton, the Hughes brothers were all very inspiring. But it was just very clear to me from a young age that they were the exceptions to the rule. So, to be able to possibly be one of the people that a young person of color, or a young outsider, can look up to as a sign that it’s possible, is pretty intense and pretty insane.

Yance Ford becomes the first transgender director to be nominated for an Oscar, for best documentary feature for best documentary feature for “Strong Island.” Ford’s first feature-length film the documentary centers on the death of his brother, William Ford, a high school teacher shot and killed on April 7, 1992.

“The police had turned my brother into the prime suspect in his own murder,” Ford told EW.com. “The very exciting thing for me when I think about history is that this film is a correction to the historical record of my brother’s life,” Ford added, “and if this nomination helps to magnify that and if by making history I helped to magnify that, then… it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.”

In addition, Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” starring trans actor Daniela Vega, earned a spot in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It’s believed to be the first Oscar nomination for a trans performer.

Rachel Morrison works on the set of the film "Mudbound." Netflix photo

Rachel Morrison works on the set of the film “Mudbound.” Netflix photo

In another milestone for women in film, “Mudbound’s” Rachel Morrison is the first woman to receive a nomination for cinematography.

“While it’s hard to believe that this ceiling has taken so long to break, I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to receive this great honor,” Morrison said in a statement on Oscar nominations morning, as reported by EW.com. “I hope this nomination serves to encourage more women to throw a camera over their shoulder or to follow their dream no matter how distant it might appear.”

According to The Guardian, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), which counts Morrison as a member, was founded in 1919. It didn’t invite a woman to join until 1980, when it admitted Brianne Murphy, reportedly the first woman to work as a cinematographer on a major Hollywood studio film (“Fatso,” directed by Anne Bancroft).

That’s not the only Academy Awards landmarks for Netflix’s period drama “Mudbound.” According to People.com, writer-director Dee Rees becomes the first black woman nominated for adapted screenplay for her co-writing credit alongside Virgil Williams. And best supporting actress contender Mary J. Blige is the first person nominated for an acting performance and original song; the nine-time Grammy winner co-wrote “Mighty River” for “Mudbound.”

“The Post” star Meryl Streep broke her own Oscar record with her 21st career nomination. She got the nod in the best actress category for her performance as The Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham.

Octavia Spencer appears in the "The Shape of Water." Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

Octavia Spencer appears in the “The Shape of Water.” Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

According to People.com, Octavia Spencer is now tied with Viola Davis for most Oscar-nominated black actress of all time with three. Spencer received a best supporting actress nod for “The Shape of Water,” to go with her win in the category for 2011’s “The Help” and her nomination last year for “Hidden Figures.”

At 89, French New Wave cinema pioneer Agnes Varda is now the oldest Oscar nominee, having earned a nod for Best Documentary for her fantastic “Faces Places.” As previously reported, Varda recently received a Governor’s Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

According to Vulture, Varda wasn’t impressed with gaining the distinction of oldest Oscar nominee.

“I’m just saying I’m not dead yet,” she told Vulture. “I love to work. I love making films. I love making documentaries. It’s wonderful and modest work. We are at the service of the people we film. It’s not our case. We are go-betweens — going between the audience and our subjects.”

According to Deadline Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated women across virtually every Oscar category to match a record set in 2016. Forty women received nominations in competitive categories outside of acting this year. Other noteworthy nods for women: Mary H. Ellis for “Baby Driver,” making her the sixth woman nominated for sound mixing; Tatiana S. Riegel for “I, Tonya,” marking her first Oscar nomination for film editing; and first-time director Elaine McMillion Sheldon, scoring a best documentary shorts nominations for Heroin(e), which focuses on all-female subjects.

Gal Gadot stars in "Wonder Woman." Warner Bros. photo

Gal Gadot stars in “Wonder Woman.” Warner Bros. photo

On the downside, Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” was completely left out of the Oscars picture, despite its critical and commercial success and groundbreaking status as the first female-focused superhero blockbuster.

Also among the biggest snubs came in the best actor category, where “The Disaster Artist” star James Franco, who as the Los Angeles Times reports, has since been accused of sexual misconduct by five women since winning the best actor prize at the Golden Globes, and perennial Oscar favorite and “The Post” star Tom Hanks. In something of a surprise, Denzel Washington earned a nod in the category for the legal drama “Roman J Israel, Esq.”

The Oscars will air live Sunday, March 4 on ABC. Jimmy Kimmel will return as host.

Sally Hawkins, left, and Doug Jones appear in a scene from the film "The Shape of Water." Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

Sally Hawkins, left, and Doug Jones appear in a scene from the film “The Shape of Water.” Fox Searchlight Pictures photo

Here is the complete list of nominees:

Best picture

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Post

The Shape of Water (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best actress

Sally Hawkins – The Shape Of Water (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Margot Robbie – I, Tonya (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Meryl Streep – The Post

Best actor

Timothee Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Denzel Washington – Roman J Israel, Esq

Best supporting actress

Mary J Blige – Mudbound

Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water

Best supporting actor

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

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

Best director

Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan

Get Out – Jordan Peele

Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Phantom Thread – Paul Thomas Anderson

The Shape of Water – Guillermo Del Toro (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Best adapted screenplay

Call Me By Your Name – screenplay by James Ivory (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

The Disaster Artist – screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H Weber

Logan – screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; story by James Mangold

Molly’s Game – written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin

Mudbound – screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Best original screenplay

The Big Sick – written by Emily V Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani

Get Out – written by Jordan Peele (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Lady Bird – written by Greta Gerwig (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

The Shape of Water – screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; story by Guillermo del Toro

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – written by Martin McDonagh

Best foreign language film

A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

The Insult (Lebanon)

Mary J. Blige appears in a scene from "Mudbound." Netflix photo

Mary J. Blige appears in a scene from “Mudbound.” Netflix photo

Loveless (Russia)

On Body and Soul (Hungary)

The Square (Sweden)

 

Best original song

Mighty River – Mudbound (Mary J Blige, Raphael Saadiq & Taura Stinson)

The Mystery of Love – Call Me By Your Name (Sufjan Stevens)

Remember Me – Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)

Stand Up for Something – Marshall (Common & Diane Warren)

This Is Me – The Greatest Showman (Benji Pasek & Justin Paul)

Best original score

Dunkirk – Hans Zimmer

Phantom Thread – Jonny Greenwood

The Shape of Water – Alexandre Desplat

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – John Williams

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Carter Burwell

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Parvana (voice of Saara Chaudry) and Shauzia (Soma Chhaya) pass as boys in the animated film "The Breadwinner." Cartoon Saloon photo

In Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Parvana (voice of Saara Chaudry) and Shauzia (Soma Chhaya) pass as boys in the animated film “The Breadwinner.” Cartoon Saloon photo

Best animated feature

Boss Baby

The Breadwinner

Coco (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Best documentary feature

Abacus

Faces Places (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Icarus

Last Men in Aleppo

Strong Island

Best cinematography

Blade Runner 2049 – Roger Deakins (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

Darkest Hour – Bruno Delbonnel

Dunkirk – Hoyte van Hoytema

Mudbound – Rachel Morrison

The Shape of Water – Dan Laustsen

Best costume design

Beauty and the Beast – Jacqueline Durran

Darkest Hour – Jacqueline Durran

Phantom Thread – Mark Bridges

The Shape of Water – Luis Sequeira

Victoria and Abdul – Consolata Boyle

Best make-up and hairstyling

Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski & Lucy Sibbick

Victoria and Abdul – Daniel Phillips & Lou Sheppard

Wonder – Arjen Tuiten

Best production design

Beauty and the Beast – production design by Sarah Greenwood; set decoration by Katie Spencer

Blade Runner 2049 – production design by Dennis Gassner; set decoration by Alessandra Querzola

Darkest Hour – production design by Sarah Greenwood; set decoration by Katie Spencer

Dunkirk – production design by Nathan Crowley; set decoration by Gary Fettis

The Shape of Water – production design by Paul Denham Austerberry; set decoration by Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin

Best visual effects

Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert & Richard R Hoover

Guardian of the Galaxy Vol 2 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner & Dan Sudick

Kong: Skull Island – Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza & Mike Meinardus

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan & Chris Corbould

War for Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon & Joel Whist

Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, from left, Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson in a scene from "I, Tonya." Neon photo

Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, from left, Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and Julianne Nicholson as Diane Rawlinson in a scene from “I, Tonya.” Neon photo

Best film editing

Baby Driver – Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos

Dunkirk – Lee Smith (2017 AWFJ EDA Award winner)

I, Tonya – Tatiana S Riegel

The Shape of Water – Sidney Wolinsky

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Jon Gregory

Best sound editing

Baby Driver – Julian Slater

Blade Runner 2049 – Mark Mangini and Theo Green

Dunkirk – Richard King and Alex Gibson

The Shape of Water – Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Best sound mixing

Baby Driver – Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H Ellis

Blade Runner 2049 – Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth

Dunkirk – Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A Rizzo

The Shape of Water – Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

Best animated short

Dear Basketball

Garden Party

Lou

Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

Best live action short

DeKalb Elementary

The Eleven O’Clock

My Nephew Emmet

The Silent Child

Watu Wote/All of Us

Best documentary short

Edith + Eddie

Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Heroin(e)

Knife Skills

Traffic Stop

-BAM

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