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“I didn’t set an alarm I was hoping I slept through it, but my internal alarm woke me up about five minutes after the nominations were announced and I looked at my phone and the texts and there were already a lot of them. That was a good thing,” said Jordan Peele who made history this morning as the first African American filmmaker to be nominated in all three categories of Picture, Directing and Original Screenplay for Get Out. “I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be happier for the cast and crew and producers. We had this adventure and difficult journey. It has been a rewarding experience.” Get Out grabbed a total of four nominations.
The Shape of Water
Miles Dale, one of the producers of The Shape of Water, said he flew from Los Angeles via red eye to his home in Toronto and decided to stay awake until the Oscar nominees were announced.
He brewed coffee and sat with his girlfriend watching the TV, while texting Octavia Spencer “Who’s all nervous Nellie.”
“I screamed every ten seconds,” Dale said, as the nominees were announced — the film collected 13 nods.
Dale called it wonderful for people like production designer Paul Denham Austerberry and costume designer Luis Sequeira, with whom he’s been working for years, to receive recognition, along with first-time nominees like cinematographer Dan Laustsen.
“It’s a validation of a career for a lot of those people,” Dale said.
Dale acknowledged Guillermo Del Toro, whom he described as “an amazing filmmaker and storyteller,” whose narrative seems especially timely now.
“We made this movie before the election,” Dale said. “Now here we are. Women are finding their voice this year. It’s really perfect timing for our character, who’s voiceless. They get their power. It couldn’t be better timing.”
Eric Fellner is Co-Chairman of Working Title, which has 11 Oscar nominations this morning — six, including Best Picture, for Darkest Hour, three for Baby Driver and three for Victoria and Abdul.
This is Working Title’s 8th Best Picture nomination in its storied career. Personally, Fellner and co-Chairman Tim Bevan have been nominated six times in the category. Fellner told Deadline, “Of course we’re thrilled to get a Best Picture nomination. We’re really thrilled across all three films in one year and to get some recognition for our brilliant British creative heads of departments. It’s part of the reason we live in London and why we make films here in England. It’s fantastic they got recognized.”
Still, Darkest Hour‘s Joe Wright did not make it to the final five. Fellner said, “It’s disappointing, but I always say every nomination is a nomination for the director. Nobody can get a nomination without a director. So,” he joked,”he got six nominations rather than just one.”
Darkest Hour has become the biggest-grossing indie domestically (of films released in 2017) and is off to a great start internationally. Notes Fellner, “People are liking the movie. It’s so exhilarating as a producer. When you make a decision to make one of these small films all you have to go on is your gut and when it happens, it’s great.”
Producer JoAnne Sellar whose drama Phantom Thread was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis told Deadline that the recognition “was a complete shock! The best kind of shock. It was amazing. I thought we’d get three but not six! I’m happy that voters in the Academy recognized this and it couldn’t have been better timing.” The film initially released into theaters on Christmas Day in two cities and expanded last weekend and will go onto over 1,000 screens this weekend.
“My husband (Daniel Lupi) and I produced all of Paul (Thomas Anderson)’s movies. Paul and Daniel Day-Lewis have wanted to work on something since There Will Be Blood. Paul had originally been talking to doing a kind of Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier) type of film, and that kind of evolved into what it is and then they set it into the world of couture. Daniel and Paul worked really closely on the development and the script and then set it in England and we shot it this time last year.” The film was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Costume Design and Original Score. “I have to say that those who got nominations and those who didn’t all equally contributed to the success of this film.”
Call Me By Your Name
Peter Spears, producer of Call Me by Your Name, said he was “over the moon” with the film’s nomination for best picture.
“I think it’s the greatest gift in the world,” said Spears, noting that the film has been a global effort.
A sleepy but ecstatic Spears has been on the phone all morning, calling various partners in Italy, France and Brazil to celebrate the news.
“The best news is that more people will see the move,” Spears said. “And hopefully its message of love will get out there and resonate with people.”
“I am in Rome mixing my new movie Suspiria and was working on the soundtrack and at the same time had a little computer in the back of room streaming the nominations while we were working, said director Luca Guadagnino whose film Call Me By Your Name, lead actor and adapted screenplay were all nominated this AM. “It was great and beautiful to see everyone’s joy. It’s about very unique recognition for a collective effort. It’s a small movie we made with passion and love.” He said he was introduced to Timothée Chalamet by his agent. “I had lunch with him and I found him incredibly intelligent, vibrant and ambitious and became immediately comfortable having him in the role of Elio.” And now he’s nominated. “Yes, and at the age of 21!” said Guadagnino proudly. Chalamet won for Breakthrough Performance from the National Board of Review already.
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
“I was in LA and I was asleep and my wife (Giselle) was watching the nominations with headphones as not to wake me. My son Alfie called from the UK so I didn’t see the nominations but I learned about them in the best possible way,” said Oldman of learning about his Best Actor nomination for the role of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Daniel Kaluuya nabbed his first Oscar nomination for lead actor in breakout hit, Get Out. Speaking with Deadline, the seemingly stunned British actor, who said he pretended to sleep to combat his nerves before the nominees were read, quipped “I couldn’t feel more honored to have Tiffany Haddish mispronounce my name.”
“It makes me happy that a film that empowers people that feel marginalized, people actually saw and wanted to see again and again. For it to be recognized is reflective of how people feel,” said Kaluuya “Jordan Peele is up there as one of the great voices of our generation. The fact that he’s been put in a position where he belongs makes me very happy.” He adds, “It’s an intangible thing in the air. This is just a special moment.”
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sam Rockwell, who just walked away with Best Supporting Actor at the SAG Awards over the weekend, is now Oscar nominated for his work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. “I was in bed. I hadn’t slept the night before. I slept in. My girlfriend told me what was going on. I kissed my beloved Leslie (Bibb) and said that’s awesome.” He said that he got sick at one point during the filming of the Academy Award Best Picture nominee, “The smoke from the fire scene got in me. And then one of the weeks I had a fever and (fellow cast member) Sandy Martin pulled me through the scene that day. I just sat in the bathroom shaking and I had just been beaten up.” Next up for him? “I’ll try to get some rest and maybe do some work in March or April.”
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
“I’ve been doing this long enough to know that these things just don’t happen,” Richard Jenkins said, processing his second Oscar nomination for The Shape of Water and the 13 noms the film collected today. Speaking with Deadline, Jenkins emphasized that neither he nor director Guillermo del Toro could have predicted any kind of awards outcome for this film—and that the making of the film was the reward in and of itself. “He didn’t know if it would work—he really didn’t,” Jenkins said. “But it’s a movie he had to make.”
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Receiving his third career Oscar nomination for Sean Baker’s indie darling The Florida Project—his last nod being for Shadow of the Vampire way back in 2001—Willem Dafoe’s is the sole nomination the film received. But to the actor, this recognition is of no small significance, in a time when smaller, personal films are often “strangled out of the marketplace.” “I’m very happy that we’re able to exist in this awards season alongside some of these massive movies. The truth is, it’s probably the smallest movie that has been recognized,” Dafoe said with a laugh. “But when I say ‘small,’ that’s not an apology—because that’s the only way that this movie could have been made.”
A “great adventure” for Dafoe, Baker’s socially conscious drama resonated from the beginning with “a certain kind of respect, integrity and truth.” While it’s easy to draw dividing lines between ‘us’ and ‘them’ when viewing people from a distance, during production on The Florida Project, Dafoe was pleased to watch as “they became ‘us.’’’
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
In a 40-year screen career, actress Laurie Metcalf has taken three Emmys and three Golden Globe nominations, receiving her first Oscar nomination this morning for her supporting turn as Marion McPherson in Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. A hardworking, often critical mother of two, Marion’s complicated relationship with her daughter Christine (or “Lady Bird,” as she calls herself) is at the warm heart of Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, an A24 release.
Even as she celebrates a career high of her own, Metcalf is very aware of what the morning’s results mean for Gerwig, and for women in the industry in general, with the actress becoming only the fifth woman in history to receive a Best Director nom. “Unbelievable. As far as working with Greta on the movie, nobody would’ve known that it was her solo directing debut,” Metcalf says. “She made everybody feel so confident and so cared for on the set—and she had done the meticulous job of writing the thing, on top of it. Boy, everybody just became so attached to the movie and felt so proud to be working with Greta on it.”
The success Lady Bird is seeing today, with its five nominations—one for Metcalf, two for Gerwig, and one for star Saoirse Ronan—is obviously particularly meaningful given the #metoo movement and disturbing revelations coming out of Hollywood in the past several months, finally resulting in a long-awaited watershed moment of cultural change. “I couldn’t be prouder to be representing a movie written by a woman, directed by a woman, and at the core of it, a complex female relationship,” Metcalf says. “It really, really pops out at you during this year that that’s the accomplishment that Greta did, and the foresight that she had, to write this woman’s story.”
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
“We’ve been screaming and crying all morning long. It’s just a beautiful moment,” singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige told Deadline of her two Oscar nominations this morning for Mudbound, Netflix’s breakthrough Oscar film.
Centering on two men who return home to life on the farm in rural Mississippi after serving in World War II, Dee Rees’ drama was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematographer, with nominees Rees and Rachel Morrison each making history. For her part, Blige was nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role for her turn as Florence Jackson, as well as her original song, “Mighty River,” on which she collaborated with Taura Stinson and Raphael Saadiq.
“All I can say is, God is the greatest, because it just doesn’t have to be like this, and it is,” Blige said. “I’m just so grateful. So grateful.”
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
“This is the first time writing and directing solo, and I’m alternating between crying and laughing and screaming,” said Greta Gerwig, the Oscar nominated writer/director behind the he quirky coming-of-age film Lady Bird. “I woke up at 3:30, and I was like, ‘Ahhh! It’s not time yet!’ and went back to sleep and preceded to have dreams about it. I woke up again and I thought, ‘Make coffee and then look at your phone,’ and I saw a video of Saoirse Ronan crying and she said, ‘I’m so proud of us and I’m so proud of you, and I had like 300 texts and I started calling everyone. It’s unbelievable. Every single person, crew and cast member put everything they had into this movie. I couldn’t be more happy and grateful to the Academy.”
The film is about a Sacramento teenager (Ronan) who longs to leave her little world for New York culture. Gerwig has credited the late John Hughes with being the inspiration behind her work, telling Deadline, “Molly Ringwald always seemed like a real girl and not one of those girls you only see in movies, but a real girl. (Hughes’) movies always meant a lot to me.” But it was being directed by a female director Rebecca Miller in Maggie’s Plan and watching Miller on set that was the impetus for Lady Bird. Gerwig began writing throughout 2013 and 2014 and then in 2015 started working on finding a producer and financing. “I kicked into high gear and thought okay, now it’s time for me to make it. I was empowered by (Miller) … and I felt like, ‘This is your sign.’ ” This is her second film that Gerwig has written; the other was Nights and Weekends which she co-wrote).
Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick
Receiving their first Oscar nominations for their Big Sick script on a “beautiful, dreamlike” morning, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon thought back on the three and a half years they spent crafting their script—depicting the unusual circumstances by which they fell in love—and the “200 different versions” of the film that could have been before it became what it was. “In those realities, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten nominated, so I’m happy we’re in this reality,” Gordon joked.
As he prepared for another day of production on HBO’s Silicon Valley, Nanjiani gave his take on what has been an anomalous year, when it comes to the films that will represent on the industry’s big night. “It’s great because we’ve been told for decades, ‘This is what an Oscar movie looks like,’ and now this year, there are a lot of movies that aren’t like that,” the writer/star said. “Lady Bird is a very small, personal story; Get Out is a horror movie. We’re seeing that get challenged and changed, and I think that can only be good for the industry.”
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh, nominated for best original screenplay for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, watched the nominations in bed with his girlfriend and a cup of tea. He said he was thrilled that so many of the people who worked on the film — actors Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, film editor Jon Gregory, composer Carter Burwell — received acknowledgement.
McDonagh said the film captures the zeitgeist of the moment, in terms of female empowerment.
“It’s the story of a grieving mother who goes to war with the local cops in town. She feels they haven’t been doing enough to solve the murder of her daughter,” McDonagh said. “So it’s a very powerful story about strong women. That’s what I’ve been waiting to write for a while.”
McDonagh received the news while in New York, attending rehearsals for his new play, Hangmen, which is scheduled to open in the coming weeks.
Vanessa Taylor, The Shape Of Water
Vanessa Taylor joined the ranks of Oscar nominated writer this morning, securing a spot in the Best Original Screenplay lineup for co-writing the Guillermo del Toro-directed fantasy thriller, The Shape Of Water. “From start to finish, this has been an incredible, wonderful, surreal experience,” said Taylor, speaking with Deadline this morning.
“This is a love story through-and-through,” said Taylor on why she felt the film resonated with audiences and critics. “It celebrates love, it celebrates differences and embracing our differences. These are themes that people are hungry for. Our political dialogue has been so toxic and people are perhaps feeling a little bit discouraged.”
She continued, “The mood of the country is a little bit dark and for someone like Guillermo to show up with this wonderful story that really asks you to have complete innocence and go along for this wonderful journey… I think people really embraced that.”
James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
James Ivory has received Oscar nominations before — as a director on A Room with a View, Howards End and The Remains of the Day. But receiving a nod for adapted screenwriting is something new and exhilarating.
“Like anybody, I’m totally thrilled,” said Ivory. “I’ve been through this before, as a director, but this is something different. Somehow, I feel to be nominated for writing … means a lot. It’s a film that I went into for the fun of it, and really, to help some people out who wanted to get it going. It turned out to be a very big box office and critical success and I wasn’t expecting anything like that.”
James Mangold, Logan
James Mangold, who received an Oscar nod for best adapted screenplay, said he was frankly surprised that the Academy of Motion Pictures acknowledged Logan — a genre of film that doesn’t get much awards love.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” said Mangold. “We were a film that came out in March, almost a year ago, and a franchise comic-book film — all the other strikes against us. I didn’t imagine that, but I also am thrilled and I’m really proud of the film.”
Virgil Williams, Mudbound
“I can’t stop crying my eyes look like golf balls,” said newly minted Oscar nominee Virgil Williams, who is up for the prize of Best Adapted Screenplay for Mudbound, which he shares with the film’s director Dee Rees. “It’s an incredible affirmation of many years of hard work.”
On how the period drama found it’s footing among a contemporary audiences, Williams contended, “It’s story is of life in America that is true and honest… you can link spiritually or historically to one of those characters.”
He added, “the relationships that exist between the white and the black characters in this story are a testament to the fact that we need each other. We are all stuck in the same mud of hate, ignorance, and fear, and the only way to get clean is together and with love.”
“The entire time we were making the movie, we were doing everything we could to tell the story respectfully and authentically. That was very hard at times,” Pixar’s Lee Unkrich tells Deadline, of the challenges of making his Oscar-nominated Coco. “It was a whole layer we hadn’t experienced before, making any of our other films, but I think it ended up making the film as successful as it was.”
For Unkrich and producer Darla K. Anderson, who spent six years making the film, the goal with Coco was to make a project that would resonate with the Mexican community—the community it depicted with its Día de Muertos tale—as well as the world at large. For Unkrich, the huge, unforeseen success of the film in China indicates that the story proved as universal as they’d hoped.” Even though it was a surprise to us that that country in particular really took to us, it just told us that we pulled off what we were trying to do,” the director says.
Receiving her first Oscar nomination as the director of The Breadwinner, Irish animation director Nora Twomey reflected on the #metoo moment and the meaning in seeing female directors nominated for the telling of female-driven stories. “It’s wonderful to finally see this happen because you just take for granted for so many years that your voice wasn’t particularly being heard. Yesterday, for instance, I was looking at a calendar of Irish writers, and they were all male—Joyce, Yeats—but not one female amongst them. That’s ridiculous, but that’s never really been called out as being ridiculous until now,” Twomey says. “To see women stand together, and men stand with women to try and right the situation, it means that the time has come, I guess, for stories like this to take center stage. We should be telling 50% of the stories, you know?”
“It started off in an attic with my wife [co-writer] Dorota Kobiela. She came up with the idea when she was at a crossroads in her life and was feeling very depressed about what she was doing,” Loving Vincent co-director Hugh Welchman says of his fully-painted film that will compete this year for Best Animated Feature. “A couple of years later, she met me, we fell in love and we started working on this together.”
The first Polish film in history to be nominated in its category, as well as the first in British history—outside of those produced by Aardman Animations—Loving Vincent was ultimately budgeted at $5 million, the second lowest-budget film ever to compete in its category.
Loving Vincent’s nomination today marks the vindication of a 10-year experiment. After meeting with numerous financiers and other animation companies who “thought it was crazy to paint an entire film by hand,” it was only through a viral advertisement in search of skilled oil painters that was seen by “a few hundred million people over three months” that the film caught fire, and wound up making history.
“I didn’t sleep last night—I was very worried we wouldn’t get nominated. So I got up and watched the Australian Open for 12 hours to try to take my mind off it,” Welchman shared of his experience, awaiting the Oscar results. Watching the Oscars live feed this morning with a house full of oil painters, the director “jumped out of [his] seat.”
“I was at the airport going through the x-ray, and then my telephone started to buzz. I wasn’t even aware of the time, exactly, and then I was like, ‘Holy sh*t, maybe this is happening,’” Ferdinand director Carlos Saldanha explained, detailing the memorable experience of his second Oscar nomination. “I was like a mad man in the middle of security there. I was hoping they weren’t going to take me aside and check me just because I was getting a little bit odd and crazy there at the airport.”
Receiving his first nomination back in 2004 for the animated short Gone Nutty, Saldana’s drive with the Ferdinand feature was to convey one very simple, very human message of love and tolerance. “For me, the message was always what drew me into this project,” he told Deadline, “the simplicity of the story and the power of its message about being true to who you are.”
Agnes Varda, the 89 year-old director of the Feature Documentary Faces Places said, “It’s a half-surprise but it’s a good one. We thought we had a chance but not by pretention. We felt such a welcome when we presented the film together. There was complete adhesion from the audience and critics. We felt we really did what we make movies for – to share with people. To make people love people we loved was our goal as filmmakers. Prizes or no prizes, we did it.”
Their producer “allowed us to shoot for so long, one week a month which is a good rhythm for me since I’m not so strong. The conditions, the reception everywhere we went corresponds to the goal of the film.”
“I say I haven’t done a career, I have made films. I didn’t earn a lot of money, but a lot of prizes. If prizes correspond to the public and those who vote, then I’m very happy.”
She’s next giving two lectures at Harvard in February, and then she’s going to make a documentary about her lectures “because I don’t want to go anymore, I want to send them a film.”
Strong Island, a Netflix original feature documentary from filmmaker Yance Ford gives an unflinching look at his family’s pain after the murder of their son and 24-year-old brother, William Ford, and reclaims the narrative about his brother in light of the injustice that harmed those closest to him. The case basically blamed the victim for his own murder. “We are awash in a culture of violence and we are a culture that is predisposed to an irrational fear of certain people, and then that fear is used to justify unjustifiable murder,” said Yance Ford, who was only a week shy of his 20th birthday when his brother was senselessly murdered. “His death warranted more than fewer than 3,000 words in the newspaper. One story that was written was a human interest about the grief of my parents and the other was a poorly reported piece that appeared the morning after shooting. In that short article, you could already see the beginning of conclusions being drawn rather than questions being asked. I first read the article when doing the film and, in hindsight, what my parents feared was already in motion and you could see it in that story. The person who survives this killing is the only one who can give the narrative to the piece. The police narrative was the same as the shooter’s narrative. The framing piece of the film is who gets interrogated and what story is brought forth when the victim can’t speak for himself becomes the narrative. The quality of the investigation and due process is the voice of the victim and when you accept the perpetrator’s story without question, you deny the victim their due process. When someone has a vested interest in their version of events being taken as the truth, that places a greater responsibility on our criminal “justice” system to do their due diligence.”
Last Men in Aleppo
Syrian director Firas Fayyad whose powerful film Last Men in Aleppo about the White Helmets who go into war zones to help people was nominated today for Best Feature Documentary, spoke to Deadline from Switzerland. He said he was “preparing to screen the film at the World Economic Forum when I hear that Pres. Trump (is coming),” he said. President Trump should arrive there later this week. “A friend called and told me, ‘You don’t see the news?’ and I said ‘No,’ and they said it was like the 5 o’clock and then I look and saw messages on my phone. I just start to think about all this time the tragedy in Syria and all these people killed trying to tell the truth. With the Oscar nomination, more people will see this film. This film should be watched because some things should be known by everyone. It tells the truth about what is going on in the country. Some things are never shown. We moved our cameras into the country into places so people can see it. This is a big shout for the people when Trump is trying to silence us, but we are showing the truth to power.”
DOCUMENTARY, SHORT SUBJECT
Elaine McMillion Sheldon, director of Heroin(e) which earn a nomination in the Best Documentary, Short Subject said her film about the opioid crisis in her state was done to bring some hope into the world. “I grew up in West Virginia, I moved and then returned,” she said. “It got to the point where I had lost a lot of classmates from high school and middle school. I personally needed some hope and when we found these three women – Jan Rader, Necia Freeman and Judge Patricia Keller — we wanted to show the power of the individual and how one person can make a difference in another person’s life.” She also produced the film with her husband Kerrin Sheldon who was also the cinematographer on the film.
“When I was five years old, my mother showed me a photo of his corpse. She wanted to make sure that I knew our history. She taught me about what could happen to black men in the South – I grew up in North Carolina. She taught be about the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing, a lot of the pioneers of Civil Rights,” said Kevin Wilson, Jr. nominated in the Live-Action Short Film category for My Nephew Emmett about the brutal murder in 1955 of the 14-year-old boy who was killed for whistling at a white woman. “When I saw the photograph it was disturbing and since that time, it stayed with me all through college. I had been so connected to that story. I first directed a play about Emmett Till and then when I got to NYU Graduate Film School, I knew that I wanted to tell this story and explore the perspective of the murder through the eyes of his guardian, who was caring for him at the time. I wanted to explore that the strength they had to muster. Where was he when he heard? “I had my crew and cast members come over to the community center in my apartment complex in New Jersey and had a breakfast catered and we all sat back and watched the nominations and we screamed and cried. I called my Mom (who was a single mother). It all started with her.”
“Stand Up For Something”, Marshall
Still reeling from his Best Original Song Oscar nomination for “Stand Up for Something” from Marshall, recording artist and actor Common spoke to Deadline about the “spirit and intent” of the song’s message.
“Our song is empowering people to be active in change and not just only speak about it but really live it,” said Common, who collaborated with Diane Warren on the soundtrack, which he performed with Andra Day.
“We do our best to connect it… we utilize the song, not just as a soundtrack but to inspire people.”
If Common wins come March, it will mark his second. He, along with John Legend, nabbed the 2015 Oscar in this category for the song “Glory” from the Ava DuVernay-directed Selma.
“One of the joys of being an artist is that you get to be a part of something that is very creative that inspires you but you also see it impacting lives and cultures and you can use the platform to better the world in many ways.”