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WATCH THE NOMINEES

On mastering their craft, unlocking characters and the untold stories behind their films.

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Kristen Harding // SENIOR PRODUCER: Robyn Ross // EDITORS: Ethan Bellows & Hannah Hafey
INTERVIEWERS: Sara Vilkomerson, Devan Coggan, Gerrad Hall, Shirley Li, Robyn Ross, Kara Warner & Nic Camp

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The Triple Axel
MARGOT ROBBIE

STARRING IN/
I, TONYA

AGE/
27

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Tonya Harding, tabloid punchline of the ‘90s for her alleged role in the attack against rival Olympic ice skater Nancy Kerrigan

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Teenage Dream
SAOIRSE RONAN

STARRING IN/
LADY BIRD

AGE/
23

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
The willful Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, who comes of age during her turbulent senior year at a Catholic high school

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Teenage Dream
SAOIRSE RONAN

STARRING IN/
LADY BIRD

AGE/
23

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
The willful Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, who comes of age during her turbulent senior year at a Catholic high school

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Boss
MERYL STREEP

STARRING IN/
THE POST

AGE/
68

OSCAR PAST/
20 NOMS, 3 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Real-life Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, who defies a belligerent White House trying to stifle news about Vietnam

The Fighter
FRANCES MCDORMAND

STARRING IN/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

AGE/
60

OSCAR PAST/
4 NOMS, 1 WIN

ROLE CALL/
Mildred Hayes, a mother obsessed with exacting justice for her murdered daughter

The Fighter
FRANCES MCDORMAND

STARRING IN/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

AGE/
60

OSCAR PAST/
4 NOMS, 1 WIN

ROLE CALL/
Mildred Hayes, a mother obsessed with exacting justice for her murdered daughter

The Quiet Storm
SALLY HAWKINS

STARRING IN/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
41

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Elisa Esposito, the mute cleaning lady who protects—and falls for—a mysterious aquatic monster

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Nonpareil
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS

STARRING IN/
PHANTOM THREAD

AGE/
60

OSCAR PAST/
5 NOMS, 3 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Reynolds Woodcock, a meticulous and finicky fashion designer for the rich and famous in 1950s London

The Outsider
DANIEL KALUUYA

STARRING IN/
GET OUT

AGE/
28

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Photographer Chris Washington, whose weekend visit to his girlfriend’s family goes horrifyingly awry

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Outsider
DANIEL KALUUYA

STARRING IN/
GET OUT

AGE/
28

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Photographer Chris Washington, whose weekend visit to his girlfriend’s family goes horrifyingly awry

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Legend
DENZEL WASHINGTON

STARRING IN/
ROMAN ISRAEL, ESQ.

AGE/
63

OSCAR PAST/
8 NOMS, 2 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Roman J. Israel, an idealistic attorney who’s dedicated his life to fighting for truth and justice

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Bulldog
GARY OLDMAN

STARRING IN/
DARKEST HOUR

AGE/
59

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Newly appointed prime minister Winston Churchill in the early days of WWII, wrestling with the decision of whether to negotiate with Hitler or keep fighting

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Bulldog
GARY OLDMAN

STARRING IN/
DARKEST HOUR

AGE/
59

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Newly appointed prime minister Winston Churchill in the early days of WWII, wrestling with the decision of whether to negotiate with Hitler or keep fighting

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Upstart
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET

STARRING IN/
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

AGE/
22

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Elio Perlman, a curious teenager who falls for his father’s assistant during a steamy summer in Italy

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Swan
GRETA GERWIG

FILM/
LADY BIRD

AGE/
34

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Few actors have made the kind of solo directorial-debut splash that Greta Gerwig did with Lady Bird's authentic coming-of-age story.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Frightener
JORDAN PEELE

FILM/
GET OUT

AGE/
38

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Having showcased his skills on the Key & Peele sketch-comedy show, Jordan Peele revealed himself to be an equally sizable cinema talent with Get Out.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Frightener
JORDAN PEELE

FILM/
GET OUT

AGE/
38

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Having showcased his skills on the Key & Peele sketch-comedy show, Jordan Peele revealed himself to be an equally sizable cinema talent with Get Out.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Couturier
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

FILM/
PHANTOM THREAD

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
6 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Paul Thomas Anderson is California to the bone. Phantom Thread marked a literal departure for the director, to merry old England at the height of 1950s couture fashion culture.

The Commander
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

FILM/
DUNKIRK

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
3 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Christopher Nolan has delivered big budget blockbusters, but for his 10th feature film, Nolan went back to the extreme basics.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Commander
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

FILM/
DUNKIRK

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
3 NOMS, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Christopher Nolan has delivered big budget blockbusters, but for his 10th feature film, Nolan went back to the extreme basics.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Fantasist
GUILLERMO DEL TORO

FILM/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
53

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ABOUT/
Guillermo del Toro calls his genre “the cinema of the fantastic,” and he’s the first to admit that this type of film seldom receives prestigious awards.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Handyman
WILLEM DAFOE

STARRING IN/
THE FLORIDA PROJECT

AGE/
62

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Bobby, the authoritative but gentle manager of the Magic Castle Inn & Suites

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Chief
WOODY HARRELSON

STARRING IN/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

AGE/
56

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Bill Willoughby, a beleaguered small-town police chief unable to solve a brutal murder

The Chief
WOODY HARRELSON

STARRING IN/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

AGE/
56

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Bill Willoughby, a beleaguered small-town police chief unable to solve a brutal murder

The Rascal
SAM ROCKWELL

STARRING IN/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

AGE/
49

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Jason Dixon, a despicable small-town cop who becomes enraged when the mother of a murdered girl criticizes his boss for failing to solve the crime

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Raconteur
RICHARD JENKINS

STARRING IN/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
70

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Giles, a failed commercial artist and closeted gay man who lives next door to a mute woman

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Raconteur
RICHARD JENKINS

STARRING IN/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
70

OSCAR PAST/
1 NOM, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Giles, a failed commercial artist and closeted gay man who lives next door to a mute woman

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Fixer
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER

STARRING IN/
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

AGE/
88

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 1 WIN

ROLE CALL/
Billionaire oil magnate J. Paul Getty, who keeps his wealth closer than he does his family.

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Witness
MARY J. BLIGE

STARRING IN/
MUDBOUND

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Florence Jackson, matriarch of a sharecropper family closely intertwined with white landowners in post-WWII Mississippi

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Accomplice
OCTAVIA SPENCER

STARRING IN/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 1 WIN

ROLE CALL/
Zelda Fuller, a 1960s cleaning lady drawn into a plot to rescue an aquatic monster

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Accomplice
OCTAVIA SPENCER

STARRING IN/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

AGE/
47

OSCAR PAST/
2 NOMS, 1 WIN

ROLE CALL/
Zelda Fuller, a 1960s cleaning lady drawn into a plot to rescue an aquatic monster

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Keeper
LESLEY MANVILLE

STARRING IN/
PHANTOM THREAD

AGE/
61

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Cyril Woodcock, the no-nonsense dame who manages her brother’s 1950s fashion empire

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Zamboni
ALLISON JANNEY

STARRING IN/
I, TONYA

AGE/
58

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Tonya Harding’s tough-loving mother, LaVona, whose investment in her daughter’s talent often goes too far

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Zamboni
ALLISON JANNEY

STARRING IN/
I, TONYA

AGE/
58

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Tonya Harding’s tough-loving mother, LaVona, whose investment in her daughter’s talent often goes too far

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

The Heart
LAURIE METCALF

STARRING IN/
LADY BIRD

AGE/
62

OSCAR PAST/
0 NOMS, 0 WINS

ROLE CALL/
Marion McPherson, Lady Bird’s protective but hypercritical mother, who loves her children so much it can hurt

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
THE SHAPE OF WATER

DIRECTED BY/
GUILLERMO DEL TORO

STARRING/
SALLY HAWKINS, OCTAVIA SPENCER, MICHAEL SHANNON

ABOUT/
Guillermo del Toro’s latest film is a lot of things. It’s a 1950s monster movie. A Cold War espionage thriller. A romance. An ode to cinema. But the Pan’s Labyrinth auteur considers The Shape of Water his “French
movie,” even if the closest his Baltimore-set film comes to the banks of the Seine is Alexandre Desplat’s warm, accordion-tinged score and maybe some buttery pastry. Look closer and you’ll see where del Toro mined some whimsy from Jacques Demy’s far-out 1970 fairy tale Donkey Skin as a source of inspiration, and the entire story of Elisa and her unlikely new love—an amphibious creature from the Amazon—is injected with a joie de vivre that evokes Paris in the spring: romantic and full of possibility. “You never know who you’re going to fall in love with,” del Toro says. “You can fall in love with the most inadequately acceptable person in the universe. The wrong age, the political persuasion you hate the most. We are constantly Capulets falling in love with Montagues. The shape of love is the shape of water.” And true to the adage that gave the film its title, The Shape of Water proves that a story can take an infinite number of forms. Who would have ever guessed that one of the most beloved movies of the year involves a mute cleaning lady falling for a cinematic cousin of the Creature From the Black Lagoon? And yet here we are. —KEVIN P. SULLIVAN

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
THE POST

DIRECTED BY/
STEVEN SPIELBERG

STARRING/
MERYL STREEP, TOM HANKS

ABOUT/
Who owns the news you’re reading? Who is protecting your right to read it? These are the central questions raised decades ago when newspapers went head-to-head with the Nixon White House over the so-called Pentagon Papers, a leaked report exposing America’s losing strategy in the war in Vietnam. If this true-life tale from 1971,starring Meryl Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee, seems distressingly contemporary, that was part of the idea of its breakneck production last year. “I read it in February, and as soon as I was done with it, I said, ‘Shoot, I want to do this!’” Hanks says. Director Steven Spielberg thinks the inspiration should be obvious to anyone who has followed the news this year. “I reacted to the script with a great deal of enlightened frustration, based on living in the current climate,” the filmmaker says. History has another lesson, though. There is no stopping the truth. —ANTHONY BREZNICAN

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

DIRECTED BY/
LUCA GUADAGNINO

STARRING/
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET, ARMIE HAMMER

ABOUT/
We often look to movies as a template for how to love, and this year there was no better map to the deepest places of the heart than Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name. “It’s a testament to the idea that life and cinema go hand-in-hand,” the Italian filmmaker says of the queer ballad, which examines the passionate summer long romance between a teen (Timothée Chalamet) and an older man (Armie Hammer) with intimacy in harmony with eroticism—a coupling that speaks beyond the confines of sexuality. “It’s about craving, tenderness, lust, love, loss, and grief,” Hammer says. “The bricks and mortar of who we are as people: This celebrates that.” That’s amore. —JOEY NOLFI

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

DIRECTED BY/
MARTIN MCDONAGH

STARRING/
FRANCES MCDORMAND, SAM ROCKWELL, WOODY HARRELSON

ABOUT/
Three Billboards is a haunting tale of a mother’s rage and quest for justice fueled by a (literal) scorched-earth intensity. After her daughter’s rape and murder goes unsolved for months, Mildred (a galvanizing Frances McDormand) rents three blunt, bold roadside ads to shame the local police, including Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), for failing to find the killer.“It does feel like it’s tapping into some kind of zeitgeist because it’s such a strong female character in the lead of the film who doesn’t take any s--- from any of the men in the film and is carrying on a battle where she will not back down,” says writer director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), who penned the role for McDormand. “That’s a great kind of character to be putting out in these Harvey Weinstein kind of days: a female protagonist who you don’t have to defend.” She does that, to say the least, all by herself. —TIM STACK

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
PHANTOM THREAD

DIRECTED BY/
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON

STARRING/
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, LESLEY MANVILLE, VICKY KRIEPS

ABOUT/
In There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis explored the psychic and emotional weight that comes with building something ugly. For their reunion, they traded Daniel Plainview’s oceans of oil for Reynolds Woodcock’s creations of beauty. Anderson began with a story in need of characters, and eventually he hit on the fashion world of 1950s London. “I just made a movie [Inherent Vice] with all of these dirty hippies with facial hair and stuff,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, God, let’s do something with fancy people.’ It’s nice to be around people properly dressed.” But more than that, Phantom Thread unravels what people in relationships ask of each other, what we give, and what we take—all told with a style that’s haunting, cinematic, and—of course—gorgeous. —KEVIN P. SULLIVAN

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
GET OUT

DIRECTED BY/
JORDAN PEELE

STARRING/
DANIEL KALUUYA, ALLISON WILLIAMS, BRADLEY WHITFORD

ABOUT/
With his directorial debut,Jordan Peele created a horror movie that did more than scare audiences. It scared them with its intent. The idea sprang from the sketch comedian’s desire for a national dialogue, one he felt we needed but weren’t having. “There’s all sorts of difficult notions to get over in order to have a substantial discussion about race—guilt, pain, horror,” Peele says. “My hope was that we could get to some substantial conversations about race through talking about the movie. The fact that there’s only one protagonist eliminates that notion of coming from two different places, at least a little bit.” And that experience,a black man’s increasingly paranoid weekend with his white girlfriend’s suburban family, is one audiences have come to know well. By watching Get Out,the white viewer is forced to identify with a set of fears—heightened though they may be—that a portion of the population understands all too well. —KEVIN P. SULLIVAN

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
LADY BIRD

DIRECTED BY/
GRETA GERWIG

STARRING/
SAOIRSE RONAN, LAURIE METCALF

ABOUT/
Since fall festival audiences got the first glimpse of Lady Bird, the buzz around Greta Gerwig’s vivid, warm, and comical coming-of age story has turned into a roar. Saoirse Ronan plays the titular teen, who is restless, curious, and yearning as one can only be when suffering from the conviction that a more exciting life is happenings omewhere else. Her rebellious push-and-pull with her anxious mother (Laurie Metcalf) should be achingly familiar. “We’ve all gone through every piece of this movie,” Metcalf says. “I think Greta has created this universal movie that’s so incredibly relatable to every age group.” Gerwig is quick to credit her cast and crew: “It’s really been the very best experience I can think of.” —SARA VILKOMERSON

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
DARKEST HOUR

DIRECTED BY/
JOE WRIGHT

STARRING/
GARY OLDMAN, KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS

ABOUT/
Director Joe Wright’s World War II drama tracks an eventful few weeks in the life of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman), who finds himself leading a beleaguered country against the Nazi war machine. “In that critical period, he became prime minister, he saved Britain, and he wrote three of the greatest speeches ever,” says screenwriter Anthony McCarten. “That was a story just begging to be told.”In hindsight, Britain’s ultimate victory may appear set in stone, but Darkest Hour shows just how close things came to going another way, especially because formidable political forces within Churchill’s own government—personified by Viscount Halifax (Stephen Dillane)—pressured him to strike a deal with Hitler.“To a British schoolboy, as I was, [Churchill] is this kind of icon,” Wright says. “He’s untouchable. The point for me of this movie was to bring him down from that plinth and to meet him eye-to-eye as a fellow human being.” —CLARK COLLIS

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

TITLE/
DUNKIRK

DIRECTED BY/
CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

STARRING/
TOM HARDY, KENNETH BRANAGH

ABOUT/
When Christopher Nolan began research for his World War II epic, it was the firsthand accounts of some of the nearly 400,000 cornered Allied soldiers that stuck with him, and that inspiration is woven into every second of the film. Dunkirk is a war movie without the comforts of context. There’s no map room or a true-life figure who has to survive. The characters and audience are on equal footing, clueless and experiencing the extemporized evacuation as a tightening noose on land, sea, and air. “I fixed on the idea of trying to be very, very true to a series or a combination of fixed points of view, so that we would really see what the soldiers would see on the beach and experience what they experienced,” Nolan says. Because of that perspective—and Hans Zimmer’s unnerving score— the tension threatens to rise infinitely, until a stunning climax when the characters’ survival feels like our own. —KEVIN P. SULLIVAN

>> WATCH VIDEO <<

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