The circle of life in Hollywood is playing out before us at this very moment. The Academy just announced its Oscar nominations, delivering the usual helping of surprises (Phantom Thread for Best Picture!) and “yeah, that’s pretty much what we thought would happen” (Shape of Water leads the way with 13 nominations). At the same time, the Sundance Film Festival is underway in Utah, offering up several films which will undoubtedly factor into the next Oscars race. Get Out, The Big Sick, and Call Me By Your Name, all Sundance 2017 films, combined for 9 nominations this morning.

However, before we can look forward we have to stop and celebrate the past, and 2017 was an especially good year for film, with uncommonly transcendent blockbusters, challenging indies, and timely dramas. The race seems to have come down to Shape of Water and Three Billboards, but is that still the case after looking at these nominations? Who knows. This year’s race is crazier than usual, and what follows is simply a snapshot of what the Academy 6,687 members thought of 2017’s movies during their two-week voting period earlier this month. Their opinions could change a lot between now and March 4th.

Note: The “snubs” I list below are generally the people who were nominated by their respective Guild, Golden Globes, and/or BAFTAs but not by the Academy; the “shoulda been a contender” choices are those films or individuals who, for whatever reason, weren’t nominated by anyone but should have been. 

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

The Snubs: I, Tonya, The Florida Project, The Big Sick, Wonder Woman – all 4 were nominated by the Producers Guild of America. Poor Florida Project was likely seen by far too people to really register with Oscar voters.

Shoulda Been Contenders: Logan, Coco, Blade Runner: 2049, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Trivia Note: Get Out becomes just the fourth horror film nominated for Best Picture, the others being The Sixth Sense, Silence of the Lambs, and The Exorcist. Incidentally, it also becomes just the second February release to be nominated (the other in that case is also Silence of the Lambs, coincidentally enough).

Box Office Note: As of this writing, the average domestic gross of this year’s 9 nominees is $62.9m. That’s right in line with the $58.9m average gross for the Best Picture nominees (at the time of their nomination) in every year since 2011, which is when the Academy changed the rules to no longer mandate that there absolutely be 10 total nominees. What remains to be seen is how much of an Oscars bump these films will receive, if any. 7 of them are either still in theaters or could very easily be re-released. Get Out and Dunkirk, though, are already out on video.

Who’s Going to Win?: Shape of Water is still the most likely, but just because it has the most total nominations doesn’t guarantee anything. La La Land had 14 nominations last year and still lost. Spotlight only had 6 total nominations the year it won. The last time the most-nominated movie also won Best Picture was Birdman in 2014, although it was actually tied with The Grand Budapest Hotel with 9 nominations that year. Either way, Dunkirk, Get Out and Three Billboards seem like Shape‘s closest competition, but we were thrown for a big damn twist on the Three Billboards front in the next category.

BEST DIRECTOR

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

The Snubs: Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner: 2049), Steven Spielberg (The Post)

Shoulda Been Contenders: Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), James Mangold (Logan), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit)

Notes: Astonishingly, this is the first nomination for both Del Toro and Nolan, and it’s just Anderson’s second (after There Will Be Blood). In contrast, Peele and Gerwig are each nominated here for their solo directorial debut projects. Speaking of which, congrats to Gerwig for becoming just the fifth woman nominated for this award. If del Toro wins it’ll mean that four out of the last five Best Director awards went to Mexican filmmakers. Anderson is the only one here not also nominated by the DGA this year, and McDonagh getting snubbed seriously hurts Three Billboard’s Best Picture chances. It used to go hand in hand that Best Picture and Director went to the same movie. That’s not always the case anymore, but the Picture frontrunners always at least have their Director nominated. Not so this year for that movie about a quaint little racist town in Missouri.

BEST ACTOR

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

The Snubs: James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Tom Hanks (The Post)

Shoulda Been Contenders: Hugh Jackman (Logan), Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya), Robert Pattinson (Good Time), Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger)

Notes: These are the same SAG nominees just with Franco out, Denzel in. Chalamet is the youngest nominee in this category in 79 years. This is only Oldman’s second nomination, the first being for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, perhaps one of his most understated performances. Now, he’s probably going to get his first Oscar for reverting back to his lovable, scenery-chewing theatrics. Let the debate begin as to whether Franco was snubbed because The Disaster Artist just didn’t click with voters or for, um, other reasons. Lastly, does anyone even remember that Adam Sandler was once considered a lock for this category for The Meyerowitz Stories? Where the heck did that go? You can’t really blame it on Netflix bias because an actor in a Netflix movie was nominated this year.

BEST ACTRESS

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

The Snubs: Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul)

Shoulda Been Contenders: Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Florence Pugh (Lady Macbeth), Tatiana Maslany (Stronger), Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper)

Notes: McDormand won 21 years ago for Fargo. In the time since then, Ronan has been nominated 3 times, and she’s only 23 years old. Robbie becomes the first actress to be nominated for a performance in a film which she also produced. Also, these are the same exact nominees as SAG just with Streep in for Dench.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

The Snubs: Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes)

Shoulda Been Contenders: Patrick Stewart (Logan), Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound)

Note: Matches SAG exactly just with Plummer in place of Carell. At 89, Plummer is now the oldest actor ever nominated for an Oscar, surpassing Titanic‘s Gloria Stuart. Cheap joke: Mark Wahlberg probably still got paid more for All the Money than Plummer and everyone else nominated.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

The Snubs: Hong Chau (Downsizing), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick)

Shoulda Been Contenders: Tiffany Haddish (Girl’s Trip), Catherine Keener (Get Out)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
  • Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
  • Get Out (Jordan Peele)
  • The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor)
  • The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani)

The Snubs: I, Tonya, The Post

Shoulda Been a Contender: Phantom Thread

Note: Same nominees as the WGA just with Three Billboards in place of I, Tonya.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory)
  • Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin)
  • The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber)
  • Mudbound (Dee Rees & Virgil Williams)
  • Logan (Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green)

The Snubs: Wonder Woman

Shoulda Been a Contender: Lady Macbeth

Note: Same exact nominees as the WGA. Dee Rees is the first black woman ever nominated in this category.

BEST ANIMATED FILM

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

The Snubs: The LEGO Batman Movie, Despicable Me 3, Cars 3, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, The Napping Princess, In This Corner of the World

Shoulda Been a Contender: Captain Underpants

Note: The Academy changed the voting process for Best Animated film this year, switching to a preferential ballot and inviting non-Animation branch members to join the committee charged with selecting the nominees. The goal seems to be pushing toward opening the field a little to include more mainstream movies. That understandably has animation enthusiasts upset since smaller films like The Breadwinner rely on a nomination for exposure.

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island

The Snubs: Chasing Coral, City of Ghosts, Ex Libris: The New York Public Library, Human Flow, Jane, LA 92,

Shoulda Been a Contender: Get Me Roger Stone

Note: My “snubs” in this case all made the Academy’s shortlist of 15 potential nominees in this category.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Blade Runner: 2049 (Roger Deakins)
  • Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel)
  • Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema)
  • The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen)
  • Mudbound (Rachel Morrison)

The Snubs: The Post

Shoulda Been a Contender: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Note: Matches the American Society of Cinematographers’ picks exactly. Morrison is now the first woman nominated for this award.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

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

The Snubs: The Greatest Showman

Shoulda Been a Contender: Wonder Woman

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

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

The Snubs: Wonder Woman

Shoulda Been Contenders: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok

BEST FILM EDITING

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

The Snubs: Blade Runner: 2049, The Post, Get Out, Lady Bird,

Shoulda Been a Contender: Star Wars: The Last Jedi


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)

The Snubs: The Post

Shoulda Been a Contender: Coco

Note: Amazingly, this is Greenwood’s first nomination despite is already iconic work in prior Anderson films like There Will Be Blood and The Master.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • “Stand Up for Something” — (Marshall)

Performed by Andra Day & Common. Written by Diane Warren

  • “This Is Me” — (The Greatest Showman)

Performed by Keala Settle. Written by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

  • “Remember Me” — (Coco)

Written by Bobby Lopez & Kristen Anderson Lopez. Performed by Miguel & Natalia Lafourcade

  • “The Mystery of Love” — (Call Me By Your Name)

Written by Sufjan Stevens

  • “Mighty River” (Mudbound)

Snubs/Shoulda Been a Contender: In addition to the ones already nominated, any of the other songs in Greatest Showman and Coco would have been worthy choices.

BEST 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

The Snubs: Alien: Covenant, Dunkirk, Okja, The Shape of Water, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Shoulda Been a Contender: Thor: Ragnarok

Note: The “snubs” all made the Academy’s shortlist for this category.

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST SOUND MIXING

  • Baby Driver
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Note: Your eyes aren’t deceiving you – those are the same exact 5 nominees for Editing and Mixing.

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • The Insult (France)
  • On Body and Soul (Hungary)
  • The Square (Sweden)
  • Loveless (Russia)
  • A Fantastic Woman (Chile)

Snub/Shoulda Been a Contender: In the Fade (Germany)

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

  • Wonder
  • Victoria & Abdul
  • Darkest Hour

Snub: I, Tonya

Here’s a link to the full nominees including the short film categories.

IN CONCLUSION

The big surprises are as follows: Phantom Thread over Florida Project, I, Tonya, or The Big Sick for Best Picture, Paul Thomas Anderson over Martin McDonagh for Best Director, Denzel over Franco for Best Actor, Plummer over Carell and Hammer for Best Supporting Actor, Lesley Manville over Holly Hunter and Hong Chau for Best Supporting Actress, and Victoria & Abdul over Greatest Showman for Best Costume. Everything else in the major categories fell in line with the Guilds or simple common wisdom, like Streep being nominated over Judi Dench.

Elsewhere, Rachel Morrison made history in Best Cinematography. Gerwig joins an embarrassingly small list of women ever nominated for Best Director whereas Peele’s nomination as a black man in the same category seems slightly less notable since Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen, and Lee Daniels have all been nominated in the last decade. Christopher Nolan was finally – finally! – nominated for Best Director. A comic book movie, Logan, got a screenplay nomination but nothing in the technical categories. Wonder Woman got exactly zero nominations. A horror movie like Get Out was recognized in 4 categories when simply making it into 1 is normally a challenge for anything horror. And in a year with two of the biggest pieces of Oscar bait in recent memory, the Academy overwhelmingly preferred Darkest Hour (6 nominations) over The Post (just 2, albeit one for Best Picture).

What do you think of the nominations? And who are you rooting for to win? Let me know in the comments.

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

5 Comments

  1. Still can’t get over Boss Baby getting a nomination…but then I didn’t know that they changed the rules, either. Are they crazy? It was already pretty much impossible for smaller productions to win, now they will struggle to even score a nomination. Most of those academy voters don’t even bother to watch the animated movies on the short list.

    Honestly, I don’t think that it matters if Thor: Ragnarok is nominated or not. Marvel has been a stable in the Best visual effects category for years, and they never actually won. I don’t expect this to change this year either.

    Reply

    1. To your point about the short list, the changing rules this year could have certainly benefited the easily accessible (Boss Baby is on Netflix and has been driving parents crazy for months since kids love that movie) and/or most recent (Ferdinand had practically just come out when they were voting).

      I don’t have a problem with the VFX nominees. Thor I mentioned simply because it didn’t even make the shortlist, which I found kind of surprising. Marvel at least got a nomination for Guardians, but I agree it probably won’t go to them since they keep getting shut out for whatever reason.

      Reply

  2. It is such a shame that underseen movies like The Florida Project should suffer so. I bet Jane documentary has also been seen by few people. Such injustice all around. I only put it to the Academy’s veneration for their beloved Daniel Day-Lewis as the reason why Phantom Thread is suddenly so “huge” all around. Oh, Day-Lewis retires after this film? This definitely explains this tribute goodbye and the film resurgence.

    Reply

    1. Room is the last Best Picture nominee which, at the time of its nomination, had been seen by as few people (at least as measured by ticket sales) as The Florida Project currently has. In fact, when it was nominated Room’s gross was nearly identical to Florida Project’s current $5.5m. After its nomination, Room was re-released and added another $9m to its gross. So, Florida Project really needed a nomination more than just about everything else in the running this year. Similarly, I, Tonya could have really used the nomination to help put the specialty distributor which is behind it, Neon (co-run by an Alamo Drafthouse founder), on the map.

      The Jane documentary surprised me. Most experts thought it would get in there. It at least made the Academy shortlist.

      Phantom Thread’s profile has certainly received a bit of a boost from Day-Lewis’s retirement, which he did not announce until after he’d made the movie, btw. However, I don’t think Phantom Thread ending up with 6 nominations is all because of Day-Lewis. It’s more down to timing. The whole Oscars race has been thrown out of whack in recent years because with Star Wars in December there haven’t been enough screens available to the awards contenders. So, more and more of them are opting for platform releases, ensuring they won’t actually be playing in a lot of theaters until exactly when the Academy is voting in mid-January. That instills a real recency bias into the Oscar voting that the other awards bodies don’t necessarily have. This only works, though, if the film is good and has enough passionate fans. Silence tried the same release pattern last year and was ignored.

      Phantom Thread, however, is being hailed as Anderson’s masterpiece or at least in the same conversation with There Will Be Blood (personally, Boogie Nights is still my favorite from him). That feeling might fade and the film might then go home with few to no actual awards. But at the same time Three Billboards was experiencing its inevitable backlash Phantom Thread was being discovered anew, and that’s a scenario where the Academy usually gravitates toward the new, which might be why McDonagh was snubbed for Anderson in Director (counterpoint: not that Three Billboards was really hurt anywhere else, walking away with 7 total nominations).

      Reply

      1. I agree with what you are saying about the recency bias, as you put it, even though I don’t discount this three-Oscars-winner Day-Lewis factor, similar to Meryl Streep factor at the Academy. The Florida Project is like early autumn release, and I guess everyone was tired of hearing how good it was. The Post was a new release for the US too, but I don’t think it helped THAT much, well Hanks and Spielberg were snubbed for one thing. I guess the Post thought it would be the next Spotlight.

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