The ‘Shape’ of the race as Oscar noms arrive Tuesday

Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water.”
(Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced Tuesday. What movie will lead the way? (“The Shape of Water.”) Will Greta Gerwig become the fifth woman to earn a nomination for director? What about James Franco? Did the allegations of sexual misconduct come too late to deny him a nomination for “The Disaster Artist”?

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

Oscar nominations are but days away


Even after grinding through the festivals and critics prizes and guilds nominations, there still have to be some surprises when the nominations are announced at the crack of dawn on Tuesday. Few people had Mel Gibson pulling down a nod for directing “Hacksaw Ridge” last year, and, yet, there he was, looking as surprised as the rest of us. (For the record, the picture of Gibson in that link was not snapped moments after the nominations were announced. I just still can’t quite get over that beard — or the fact that he was nominated.)

One storyline that’s sure to be scrutinized is whether the actors branch voters reward Franco, who, the Times reported last week, was accused of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior by five women. Four of these women were students at Franco’s film school, and another said he was her mentor.

The allegations landed shortly before Oscar nominations balloting closed. I spoke to a few members who told me they’d like their votes back. Franco won a Golden Globe for his work in “The Disaster Artist,” and I’m guessing he still lands an Oscar nomination. The story broke too late to derail one of the year’s more popular performances. That recognition is not going to sit well with some.

Kristen Stewart and Chloë Sevigny in "Lizzy," a new look at the Lizzie Borden story.
(Sundance Institute )

Moving from Sundance to the Oscars

Several of this year’s best picture contenders — “Call Me by Your Name,” “Get Out,” “The Big Sick” and “Mudbound” — premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. I think the film academy will recognize all four films in some fashion. They’re all deserving, that’s for sure.

What movies from this year’s festival might we be talking about this time next year? Here’s an early peek. Meanwhile, Times film writer Mark Olsen took a broader look at the event, with festival director John Cooper noting, “It’s the mood of change.”

Times film critics Kenneth Turan and Justin Chang are at the festival, as are film writers Olsen, Amy Kaufman and Tre’vell Anderson. Keep an eye out for our continuous coverage.


Mary J. Blige could supporting actor and original song nominations for her work in “Mudbound.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

Mary J. Blige: Double Oscar nominee?

It’s possible. Blige, the “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” could earn nominations for playing “Mudbound’s” wife and mother and for the original song she contributed to the film, “Muddy River.” (She pulled down Golden Globes nominations for both.)

The Envelope spoke to Blige about her career-altering performance. “I went to New Orleans to try to do something great, to pour my heart out into something,” Blige said. “But I didn’t see this coming.”



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