Genre mash-ups are beginning to be the stars of awards season as traditional dramas see their monopoly on top prizes slowly eaten by films with a little more tolerance for the imaginative. Most recently, the delicate and old-fashioned love story (that happens to be between a woman and a creature from some South American black lagoon) The Shape of Water made strides by earning the most nominations for the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics' Choice Awards.
Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, the film is up for much more than technical categories, landing noms for Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress (Sally Hawkins), Cinematography (Dan Laustsen), and both Supporting acting categories (Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer). Deadline reports that following behind the film were “Dunkirk, Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and The Post, each with eight nominations.”
After Logan and Blade Runner 2049 found awards season buzz in different critics' groups, it seemed possible that favorites like those aforementioned could face surprising competition from films that made their superheroes, replicants, and monsters transcendent components of their storytelling -- a rarity for most critical awards, but almost unheard of in the main categories of the Oscars.
The regional critic group announcements are winding down (Chicago and a few others remain), while the Golden Globes, SAG awards, and Oscars loom in the future. The continued buzz generated by science fiction, fantasy, and horror films (Get Out landed a respectable five nominations, including Best Picture) means that it’s more than likely that they’ll be contenders until the very end -- especially del Toro’s aquatic romance.