“The Shape of Water” is a fairy tale that takes place at a secret research facility where a mute janitor (Sally Hawkins) falls in love with a mysterious creature. With the assistance of her co-worker (Octavia Spencer) and neighbor (Richard Jenkins), they have to stay one step ahead of her superior (Michael Shannon) in order to help the creature escape. The film is a technical marvel and equally a performer’s showcase. That could help it do what no film in 89 years of the Academy Awards has accomplished: receive 15 nominations. Making this even more impressive is the film’s budget of a modest $19.5 million dollars and the fact that most of its technicians would be first-time Oscar nominees.
Three films are currently tied for the most nominations at 14 a piece: “All About Eve” (1950), “Titanic” (1997), and “La La Land” (2016), with “La La Land” being the only one of the three films not to win Best Picture. “All About Eve” made the list with a lot of help from its cast, receiving five acting nominations. “Titanic” might have accomplished the goal of 15 nominations were it not for its star Leonardo DiCaprio being surprisingly snubbed for Best Actor, or if James Cameron had received a bid for his screenplay. And “La La Land” might’ve accomplished 15 if the academy had not limited Best Original Song nominations to a maximum of two from a single film; “La La Land” got those two (for “City of Stars” and “Audition”), and it probably could have gotten at least one more in if it were allowed.
As of this writing “The Shape of Water” is expected to tie the Oscar record as it’s currently ranked among the likely nominees in 14 categories. So all it needs to do is surprise once to set a new record. Currently Guillermo del Toro is expected to add an Oscar to the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award he won for Best Director with odds of 11/5. He’s also expected to contend for Best Original Screenplay with co-writer Vanessa Taylor; their script sits in fourth place with odds of 8/1. He will also contend as one of the film’s producers as “The Shape of Water” is securely in fourth place in the Best Picture lineup with odds of 15/2.
Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, and Shane Vieau are looking to land their first Oscar nomination for Best Production Design after landing BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Art Directors Guild nominations: they’re currently in first place with odds of 21/10. The film ranks a close second in two other categories. Sidney Wolinsky appears secure to score his first Best Editing nomination with odds of 9/2; Wolinsky could add an Oscar to his Emmy for cutting the pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire” (2011). And “Shape of Water” music composer Alexandre Desplat will hope …read more