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'The Shape of Water,' 'The Post' and 'Three Billboards' lead Golden Globes nominations

'The Shape of Water,' 'The Post' and 'Three Billboards' lead Golden Globes nominations
Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones star in "The Shape of Water," which received seven nominations for Golden Globe awards. (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

A number of this year’s early Oscar front-runners, including “The Shape of Water,” “The Post,” “Lady Bird,” “Dunkirk” and “Call Me by Your Name,” made strong showings in this year’s Golden Globes nominations — while several potential contenders like “Get Out,” “All the Money in the World” and “I, Tonya” also received a leg up.

In short, what has been to date the most open-ended and unpredictable awards season in memory remains — for now, at least — just that, and Oscar prognosticators will have to wait for nominations from Hollywood’s various guilds to roll in over the coming weeks to get a clearer picture of the state of the horse race.

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For those in Hollywood who received the wee-hours-of-the-morning call that they were among this year’s nominees, though, the news was greeted with unambiguous joy — even if they were in the shower, like “Downsizing” actress Hong Chau, or driving in their kid’s school carpool, like “Lady Bird” costar Laurie Metcalf.

“I am in total shock,” said actor Timothée Chalamet, who, at 21, earned his first-ever Globes nod for his leading turn in the romantic drama “Call Me by Your Name. “I keep scratching my eyes trying to see what the fifth name is, seeing my name, and then scratching my eyes again.”

“The Shape of Water,” a fantastical love story between a mute woman and a fish-man, led the film field with seven nominations, including best picture in the drama category as well as nods for stars Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins and director and co-writer Guillermo del Toro.

Fittingly enough for such a dreamlike fable, Del Toro was asleep when the news arrived. “The phone started ringing with messages and I couldn’t find my glasses, so I was holding my iPhone, like, a millimeter away from my nose to read them,” he said. “One piece of good news would arrive, I’d go back to sleep, and two minutes later another piece of news came through.”

Director Steven Spielberg’s timely Pentagon Papers drama “The Post” and the darkly hued morality play “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” followed closely behind with six nominations apiece.

The coming-of-age dramedy “Lady Bird” — a small-scale crowd-pleaser that some see as the potential little engine that could of this awards season — pulled in four nods, including for best picture in the musical or comedy category, lead actress Saoirse Ronan and supporting actress Laurie Metcalf.

Saoirse Ronan and writer-director Greta Gerwig on the set of "Lady Bird."
Saoirse Ronan and writer-director Greta Gerwig on the set of "Lady Bird." (A24)

In what many regarded a snub, however, the flim’s director, Greta Gerwig, failed to score a nod in the directing category, though she did earn a screenplay nomination. Other women directors who may have made the cut were also overlooked, including Dee Rees (“Mudbound”), Kathryn Bigelow (“Detroit”), Patty Jenkins (“Wonder Woman”) and Angelina Jolie (whose “First They Killed My Father” was nominated for foreign language film) — marking a notable shutout for female filmmakers in a year that has seen issues of power and gender dominate headlines in Hollywood and beyond.

“I think Greta should win all the awards,” Ronan said. “I think it's really important we got the best picture nomination. That is essentially hers, so she has been represented in that way. But I guess it's an onward journey to make sure that female filmmakers are being represented.”

In terms of Oscar predictions, one generally should be wary of reading too much into Globes nominations, which are made by 89 voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. rather than film industry professionals. And, somewhat notoriously, the Globes can always be counted on to deliver more than their share of curveballs.

The nominations announcement Monday morning had no major head-scratchers on the level of last year’s surprise best picture nod for “Deadpool.” But many were surprised by the strong showing for director Ridley Scott’s kidnapping drama “All the Money in the World,” which earned three nods, instantly bumping the film — which has not yet screened for critics or other journalists, due to its down-to-the-wire reshoots — into the overall awards conversation.

Actor Christopher Plummer — who replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of industrialist J. Paul Getty just last month in the wake of Spacey’s sexual misconduct scandal — drew a nomination in the supporting actor category, on top of nods for Scott and lead actress Michelle Williams.

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Daniel Kaluuya received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in "Get Out," but writer-director Jordan Peele was snubbed in the screenplay and directing categories.
Daniel Kaluuya received a Golden Globe nomination for his role in "Get Out," but writer-director Jordan Peele was snubbed in the screenplay and directing categories. (Justin Lubin / Universal Pictures)

By contrast, one of the year’s biggest breakout hits, the racially charged horror satire “Get Out,” had a slightly weaker-than-expected showing, pulling in two nominations, for picture in the comedy category and for Daniel Kaluuya’s lead performance. The film’s director, Jordan Peele, found himself shut out of both the directing and screenplay categories.

“Get Out” is just one of a number of films — along with “The Post,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” — whose hot-button themes are resonating in this politically turbulent year. “Three Billboards” writer-director Martin McDonagh scored both a screenplay and a directing nod for the film, which has earned both praise and some blowback for its handling of thorny issues of race and policing.

“I think we got to say an awful lot about it that isn't being said and that hasn't been said,” McDonagh said. “It might not end up on a perfect plate for everybody, but I think it's coming at it from an interesting angle.”

For smaller-scale films like “Three Billboards,” “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water,” “I, Tonya” and “Call Me by Your Name” — which are all currently in theaters — the spotlight that comes with a Globes nomination can provide a potential box office boost. But the Hollywood Foreign Press has a long history of showering love on big-budget crowd-pleasers as well.

Although it was one of the year’s best-reviewed box office smashes, “Wonder Woman,” was a no-show in the nominations. Christopher Nolan’s sweeping epic “Dunkirk” — which has earned $525 million worldwide since its release in July — pulled in three nods, including for best picture in the drama category, Nolan’s direction and Hans Zimmer’s score.

As for what is expected to be the holiday season’s biggest juggernaut, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” that film was ineligible because it was not screened in time for the HFPA to consider. Awards are nice and all — and “The Last Jedi” will be eligible for future ones, including the Oscars — but with the film’s release just days away, Disney and Lucasfilm clearly have faith it has plenty of box office Force on its own.

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James Franco as "The Room" auteur Tommy Wiseau in "The Disaster Artist."
James Franco as "The Room" auteur Tommy Wiseau in "The Disaster Artist." (Justina Mintz / A24)

In one of this year’s most brain-tickling and weirdly heartwarming twists, “The Disaster Artist” — director James Franco’s comedy about the making of what is widely regarded as one of the worst films in history, “The Room” — pulled in two nominations, for best picture in the comedy or musical category and for Franco’s performance as the woefully inept would-be auteur Tommy Wiseau.

“That is the most full-circle, ironic dream-come-true,” Franco said. “As a lot of people know, Tommy kept ‘The Room’ in theaters for two weeks to qualify for the Academy Awards. The fact that this movie about his life is getting all this recognition is just amazing. I am going to include him in as much of it as I can.”

Times staff writers Tre’vell Anderson, Amy Kaufman, Sonaiya Kelley, Mark Olsen and Jen Yamato contributed to this report.

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