The Oscar nominations are out... now the envelope, please. No, wait. We need a suspenseful lead-up, first!
Guillermo Del Toro's "The Shape of Water " leads the list of nominees with 13. That's one shy of tying all time leaders "La La Land," "Titanic" and "All About Eve." The fantasy creature feature earned well-deserved nods for Best Picture and Director and should win both, but you never know.
I'm thrilled that "Get Out' earned four nominations, also including Best Picture and Director for Jordan Peele. There was not a more original film in 2017, and fortunately its early release did not work against it. A Summer release did not hurt the momentum for the pulse-pounding "Dunkirk," my narrow choice for picture of the year. Its nomination count is eight, including the top two. I'm not fully on the "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" bandwagon, but all signs point to at least two Oscars. Frances McDorm and and Sam Rockwell are almost shoo-ins in their acting categories. And the movie, with seven nominations has a good chance of coming out on top.
Good work, Academy. Racial diversity was acknowledged with acting nods to Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) and Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water.) And cheers to "Lady Bird's" Greta Gerwig, a sparkling indie actress took her place behind the camera with perfection. She's the first female director to be nominated since Kathryn Bigelow for "The Hurt Locker," who won eight years ago. Congratulations, too, to Rachel Morrison, first woman ever to be nominated for Cinematography for the beautifully shot "Mudbound!"
Snubs? James Franco could have been in the discussion for a Best Actor nomination for "The Disaster Artist." Allegations of sexual misconduct caught up with him even though he addressed the controversy publicly. Casey Affleck settled cases against him and won last year. "The Big Sick" was one of my favorite films of the year. It's nominated for Original Screenplay, but a film with such a finely balanced tone deserved a Best Picture nod.
Who will win it all? We'll break down the big categories one by one as the awards draw near, and we have plenty of time. The Oscars are not until March 4, delayed a week so as not to compete with the Olympics. Gold and gold don't mix.