90th Academy Award Nominations: Noteworthy Highlights

Brett Slaughenhaupt
Movie Columnist & Social Media Director

With a quick introduction from the refreshingly light and funny Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish — our hosts for the morning — and the first of many videos introducing the category, the nominations ceremony for the 90th Academy Awards was underway.

This year’s awards ceremony featured 24 categories ranging from three to five nominees with plenty of room for surprises. The Academy certainly loved “The Shape of Water,” granting them the most nominations at 13 — just one away from a record 14 held by “La La Land,” “Titanic” and “All About Eve.”

Close behind was “Dunkirk” with eight nominations, helped along on the technical side and earning Christopher Nolan his first directing nod. “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” came away with seven nominations, “Lady Bird” with five and “Get Out” with four.

“Phantom Thread” perhaps pulled the biggest upsets in a few categories, garnering itself a Best Picture slot and unexpected, though certainly not underserved, Directing and Supporting Actress nods for Paul Thomas Anderson and Lesley Manville, respectively.

For a film with the only “surefire” nomination being the always dependable Daniel Day-Lewis, especially considering their lack of recognition at the guild awards, this was a nice change of pace.

“Mudbound” also had a surprisingly strong showing with four nominations, including one for Mary J. Blige’s supporting turn. This makes it among Netflix’s first nominations for a narrative film, although its absence from the Best Picture category may speak to some continued anti-Netflix sentimentalities.
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From my own personal perspective, it was disappointing to see “The Florida Project” only receive one nomination for Willem Dafoe’s beautiful supporting work. With both Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson being recognized for their supporting turns in “Three Billboards,” there is a potential split vote between the two of them, allowing Dafoe’s (arguably stronger) work to go home with the gold.

But with the film’s lack of recognition elsewhere, the winners are still up in the air. I would have liked for “The Florida Project” to show up at least within the slate of Best Picture nominees considering they decided to nominate the lightweight, but well-made, “Darkest Hour.”

Speaking of “Darkest Hour,” it did well to earn six nominations (including Best Picture), which speaks to the general love the Academy must have for the film. With that in mind, Gary Oldman becomes much tougher to beat with this level of support behind him. However, if his win does come to fruition, you can certainly count on me acting out the final scene of “Call Me By Your Name.”

Even at 90 years of the awards ceremony, there are still plenty of records to be broken and firsts to be had.

Here’s a closer look into what the awards had in store:

Rachel Morrison is the first woman to be nominated for cinematography in the 90-year existence of the Academy Awards. She is being recognized for her work on “Mudbound.”

– The nomination of “Strong Island” for Best Documentary makes Yance Ford the first transgender director to be nominated for their work.

– Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Director for her work on “Lady Bird.” She was also nominated for her original screenplay.

Jordan Peele is the fifth black director to be nominated and the third person ever to be nominated in the categories of Best Picture, Director and Screenplay for a debut feature (“Get Out”).

Agnès Varda becomes the oldest ever nominee at 89-years-old, being nominated for the fabulous “Faces Places.” 

– Just eight days her junior, fellow 89-year-old James Ivory becomes the oldest male nominee and has a strong chance of becoming the oldest winner for his adapted screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name.”

– Christopher Plummer becomes the oldest acting nominee at 87-years-old for his work on “All the Money in the World.” All of which he did in just six weeks! after Kevin Spacey was fired when his history of sexual harassment and molestation came to light. Plummer is already the oldest actor to win an Oscar, when he won in 2011 for “Beginners.”

– On the other end of the scale, Timothée Chalamet becomes the youngest nominee for Best Actor in almost 80 years at 22-years-old. If he won for his work in “Call Me By Your Name,” he would become the youngest Best Actor winner.

– Mary J. Blige is the first person to be nominated for both an acting performance (“Mudbound”) and original song (“Mighty River,” from the same film) in the same year.

– Meryl Streep has once again beat her own record after being nominated for a mindblowing 21st time for her leading role in “The Post.”

– Denzel Washington also broke his own record for most nominations for a black actor after being recognized for an eighth time for his leading role in “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

– Even after the surge in superhero films over the past two decades, this year marks the first time an adapted screenplay of a comic book superhero was nominated with Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green’s “Logan.”
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You can see a full list of all the nominees here. Watch the 90th Academy Awards live March 4 on ABC.

Photo taken from teaser-trailer.comcdn.flickeringmyth.com, latimes.combfi.org.uk and onobello.com