‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049' look to clean up in the crafts categories

Ryan Gosling stays in the shadows in “Blade Runner 2049.”
(Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros. Pictures / Alcon Entertainment)

The last two Oscar best picture winners — “Spotlight” and “Moonlight” — managed to win the academy’s top prize without taking any trophies in the crafts categories. Both movies did, however, pick up the key nomination for film editing, traditionally a signal of a picture’s overall strength.

This year, “The Shape of Water,” “Dunkirk” and “Blade Runner 2049” will likely dominate the crafts categories. As you’ll see, I have “Shape of Water” pulling in eight nominations (nine, if you count original score, which we covered last week), “Dunkirk” earning six nominations (seven, with Hans Zimmer’s score), with “Blade Runner” receiving five.

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The main difference? “Shape of Water” and “Dunkirk” will show up in film editing. “Blade Runner” probably won’t. That’s one reason, among many, why we’ll be seeing only two of these films nominated for best picture.


Here’s an early look at the crafts categories.

Sally Hawkins in the film “THE SHAPE OF WATER.” Credit: Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures
Sally Hawkins in “The Shape of Water.”
(Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures )


Hoyte Van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”


Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me by Your Name”

Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound”

On the cusp: Bruno Delbonnel, “Darkest Hour”; Janusz Kaminski, “The Post”; Ed Lachman, “Wonderstruck”; Philippe Le Sourd, “The Beguiled”; Vittorio Storaro, “Wonder Wheel”; Ben Davis, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Alexis Zabe, “The Florida Project”

Analysis: There’s little doubt that Deakins will earn his 14th Oscar nomination for his masterful work on “Blade Runner 2049.” Can he finally win? Deakins is, in the parlance of Oscar obsessives, “due.” But that might not matter for two reasons. The most obvious: The Oscar ballot just lists the film’s title, not the cinematographer’s name. And while Deakins has a lot of fans, there are also scores of academy members who vote impulsively without digging deeper.

You also have to go back 11 years to “Pan’s Labyrinth” to find a cinematography winner that came from a movie not nominated for best picture. And as I noted above, “Blade Runner 2049” feels like one of those films that will gain in appreciation over time — like its predecessor. It probably just misses the best picture cut.

Dan Stevens as The Beast, left, and Emma Watson as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”
(Disney via AP )


“Blade Runner 2049”

“The Shape of Water”


“Phantom Thread”

“Beauty and the Beast”

On the cusp: “The Post,” “Darkest Hour,” “The Greatest Showman”

Analysis: Oscar-winning production designer Dennis Gassner’s team built about 90% of the futuristic sets for “Blade Runner 2049.” The scale of the work is incredible; the look, beautiful, brutal, haunting. Gassner has been nominated five times, winning for “Bugsy.” The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. recently gave him its production design prize. He’s the early favorite here.


Harry Styles, left, Aneurin Barnard and Fionn Whitehead in “Dunkirk.”
(Warner Bros. )


Lee Smith, “Dunkirk”

Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar, “The Post”

Nick Houy, “Ladybird”

Sidney Wolinsky, “The Shape of Water”

Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out”

On the cusp: Jon Gregory, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya”; Joe Walker, “Blade Runner 2049”; Dylan Tichenor, “Phantom Thread”

Analysis: Houy’s snappy, perfectly timed cutting is a big reason the 94-minute “Lady Bird” feels like such a full meal. But it’s going to be hard to beat Smith for the way he wove together multiple timelines in “Dunkirk.”

Daniel Day-Lewis plays a fashion designer in “Phantom Thread.”
(Focus Features )


Mark Bridges, “Phantom Thread”

Jacqueline Durran, “Beauty and the Beast”

Luis Sequeira, “The Shape of Water”

Jacqueline Durran, “Darkest Hour”

Ellen Mirojnick, “The Greatest Showman”

On the cusp: Stacey Battat, “The Beguiled”; Consolata Boyle, “Victoria & Abdul”; Sandy Powell, “Wonderstruck”; Ann Roth, “The Post”

Analysis: Bridges has been the costume designer on all of “Phantom Thread” director Paul Thomas Anderson’s movies. (That he didn’t win an Oscar for Mark Wahlberg’s brushed denim tuxedo in “Boogie Nights” is a travesty.) For “Phantom Thread,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as a fictionalized couturier, Bridges designed nearly 50 garments, including nine original pieces showcased in a spring fashion show scene. Voters will find that an irresistible feat.

This image released by Focus Features shows Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in a scene from “Darkes
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
(Jack English/Focus Features via AP )


“Darkest Hour”

“The Shape of Water”

“Beauty and the Beast”

On the cusp: “Wonder,” “I, Tonya,” “The Greatest Showman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “It”

Analysis: Find a photo of Gary Oldman. Then look up an image of Winston Churchill. Then make a mental note to pick “Darkest Hour” in your Oscar pool.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” will likely reap the series’ third Oscar nomination for visual effects.
(20th Century Fox Studios )


“War for the Planet of the Apes”

“Blade Runner 2049”

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”


“The Shape of Water”

On the cusp: “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wonder Woman,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Okja”

Analysis: The last two “Apes” movies earned nominations, but no trophies. (“Hugo” beat “Rise,” while “Interstellar” prevailed over “Dawn.”) “Blade Runner 2049” stands as its most formidable rival this time for the striking way it revisited and updated the original film.



“Blade Runner 2049”

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

“Baby Driver”

“War for the Planet of the Apes”

On the cusp: “The Shape of Water,” “Wonder Woman,” “Beauty and the Beast”

Analysis: War, action and sci-fi movies dominate this category annually. “Dunkirk” stands as the prohibitive favorite, with supervising sound editor Richard King likely to earn a fourth Oscar.

Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” stars Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance.



“Blade Runner 2049”

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

“Baby Driver”

“The Shape of Water”

On the cusp: “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Wonder Woman”

Analysis: Music-heavy films do well here, opening up a slot for “Shape,” which sports an incredible Busby Berkeley-style dance number.

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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