Not perfect, but better. The Oscar nominations this morning got it mostly right, recognizing films we expected—The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, Dunkirk, Call Me By Your Name—films we didn’t—Logan and The Big Sick—and films we feared would be overlooked, like Mudbound and Get Out, which had to climb streaming and genre hurdles, respectively. The Oscars are 90 this year, and we’ve only just gotten our first woman nominated for cinematography (Rachel Morrison for Mudbound), which is embarrassing, really, but the recent membership expansion seems to have paid off as the Academy Awards are finally broadening their scope, even just a bit.
I am ecstatic that The Shape of Water leads the pack with thirteen nominations because beyond being technically impressive it’s also kind and loving and wonderful. I hope that the tone of the Oscar conversation over the next month takes cues from this film, and we can spend our time relishing a competitive year when films that appeal to a variety of tastes are being recognized. The real world is so exhausting and toxic, can we please not have a contentious and angry Oscar season? (Haha, who am I kidding.)
What really stands out about the nominations this year is that variety of films. Logan was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, which puts a superhero movie in a major category. Baby Driver, a popular popcorn flick from the summer, exactly the kind of movie the Oscars are used to ignoring, got a nod for Best Editing. The Big Sick, a romantic comedy, is in the Best Original Screenplay race. And Get Out got four nominations, three for Jordan Peele alone—nailing the writing/directing/producing trifecta is a big deal for anyone, let alone a first time filmmaker, this is really outstanding—and an acting nod for Daniel Kaluuya. (And as Lainey just posted, Mary J. Blige is a double nominee, for Supporting Actress and also Original Song.)
However you categorize Get Out, it’s rooted in the horror/thriller genre, there’s a superhero movie, a heist flick, a rom-com, a Netflix movie, and Boss Baby, all Oscar nominees. (I don’t understand the Boss Baby thing, either.) The Oscars aren’t perfect, and there’s still a long way to go to true inclusivity, where the barrier for recognition is just making a good movie. But it’s an improvement over the last few years, for sure. Not just in recognizing more voices, but also in different types of films. The Academy loosened its girdle a bit, and the result is a fun crop of nominees. Now, if only we can get them to recognize comedy…
See the complete list of nominees here.
Attached - Jordan Peele and Daniel Kaluuya at the SAGs on Sunday.