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Credit: Fox Searchlight

Oscars 2018: The Shape of Water ties Lord of the Rings' genre record for most-nominated fantasy film

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Nov 22, 2019, 12:51 PM EST (Updated)

Despite the SAG Awards raining on every Sunken Place, superhero, and fish-man, genre had a stellar turnout when the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday. In particular, one beloved critical fave earned enough nods to tie a pretty ludicrous record.

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water led the pack with 13 Oscar nominations, which puts it in the rarefied genre air of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Only three films have ever earned more nominations — La La Land, All About Eve, and Titanic — and only two other remotely fantastic films pulled in such a high count. Mary Poppins had the same sort of lovable, hopeful magic to its wondrous romp (although some would argue it was received more as a musical), while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ... well, the kid started old and got young. Pretty weird. But it's to The Lord of the Rings that The Shape of Water feels most similar.

The first LotR movie blew everyone away, landing nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Ian McKellen), Best Art Decoration, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Cinematography.

The Shape of Water, meanwhile, has landed noms for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Lead Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Cinematography.

If you just skimmed that because it looks like a carbon copy of LoTR's nods, you're not far off. The main differences here are The Shape of Water's more diverse acting nominations and Fellowship's song and visual effects nods. The rest is almost identical, which is to be expected when the numbers are this large — you simply run out of categories.

Fellowship only took home four of its possible 13, all in technical categories. With The Shape of Water's more prevalent acting nominees, it's more likely to land one of the big five (director, film, screenplay, actor, actress). We’ll just have to wait until March 4 to find out for ourselves.

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