The Shape of Water won four Oscars at the 2018 Academy Awards – the most of any of the year’s nominated movies – including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo Del Toro, who was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay (which he didn’t win).
The Shape of Water also won Oscars for Best Original Score (by Alexandre Desplat) and Best Production Design and Set Decoration.
Best Actor, Gary Oldman; Best Actress, Frances McDormand
But the critically acclaimed movie about a mute woman’s love for an exotic sea creature was shut out of the acting awards. Instead, the year’s Best Actor Oscar went to Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour, in which he played British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the eve of World War II.
The Best Actress Oscar went to Frances McDormand for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, as an angry mother who leases three billboards outside her small Missouri town on which she excoriated the local sheriff’s department for its failure to solve the murder of her teen-aged daughter.
Best Supporting Actor, Sam Rockwell; Best Supporting Actress, Allison Janney
One of McDormand’s co-stars, Sam Rockwell, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as an incompetent sheriff’s deputy.
Female Empowerment Was Oscar Theme
But besides the awards themselves, the most conspicuous theme of the 90th annual movie awards put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Hollywood was a celebration of female empowerment in the wake of the sex harassment scandals that gripped the movie production community for the previous year.
Host Jimmy Kimmel set the tone in his opening monologue when he joked about disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein. “Oscar is the most beloved and respected man in Hollywood,” Kimmel said as he moved close to a life-sized Oscar statue on stage at the Dolby Theatre.
“And there's a very good reason why,” Kimmel said. “Just look at him. Keeps his hands where you can see them. Never says a rude word. And most importantly, no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations. And that's the kind of men we need more of in this town! …"
“What happened with Harvey [Weinstein], what's happening all over was long overdue,” Kimmel added. “We can't let bad behavior slide anymore. The world is watching us. We need to set an example.”
Kimmel Jabbed at Vice President Mike Pence
Kimmel also took a shot at Vice President Mike Pence and his conservative views. “Another young actor nominated for the first time is Timothée Chalamet,” said Kimmel, referring to the 22-year-old Best Actor nominee for the gay coming-of-age film Call Me By Your Name.
“He’s the star of a small but powerful story, Call Me By Your Name,” Kimmel said. “Only two of the Best Picture movies made more than $100 million. That's not the point. We don't make films for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence!”
Screenplay Oscar for ‘Call Me By Your Name’
Call Me By Your Name won one Oscar – Best Adapted Screenplay – which went to veteran director and screenwriter James Ivory.
From Jane Fonda to Jodie Foster: A Roster of Female Presenters
The roster of presenters at the 2018 Oscars was dominated by women – many of them past Oscar winners – including Hollywood legends Eva Marie Saint, 93, Best Supporting Actress winner for On the Waterfront (1955); Rita Moreno, 86, Best Supporting Actress winner for West Side Story (1962); and Jane Fonda, 80, Best Actress winner for Klute (1972).
Many of the presenters delivered messages of solidarity with women who have had the courage to blow the whistle on sex harassment. Presenters Ashley Judd, Annabella Sciorra and Salma Hayek appeared together to introduce a pre-produced video segment about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
Jodie Foster, Jennifer Lawrence Joke About Meryl Streep
In one of the award show’s comedic highlights, Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence got some laughs at Meryl Streep’s expense when the two actresses teamed up to present the Best Actress award. Foster was on crutches, and she and Lawrence joked that Streep had arranged to injure her, like Tonya Harding had done to her skating rival Nancy Kerrigan in one of the year’s nominated movies I, Tonya.
Immigrants Lupita Nyong’o, Kumail Nanjiani Show Support for ‘Dreamers’
Other presenters — such as the duo of Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar winner for 12 Years a Slave in 2013 who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya, and Kumail Nanjiani, an immigrant from Pakistan who was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for The Big Sick in 2018 — gave messages of support to immigrants, including so-called dreamers who have been threatened with deportation.
“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers,” Nyong’o said. “We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.”
Saluting Hollywood History on 90th Oscars
But not every memorable moment of the 90th Oscars concerned issues of empowerment or equality. Much of the telecast, which went for nearly three-and-a-half hours on ABC, was styled as a salute to Hollywood history, including the elaborate backgrounds and sets on-stage that mimicked the ornate interiors of 1920s and ’30s movie palaces.
The 2018 Oscar’s evening-long salute to Hollywood history got under way with the pre-produced opening segment that opened the show. Rendered in black-and-white, the segment had Kimmel narrating the action like it was an old-time newsreel. Though it was a spoof of old-time news films, the bit was also part of the evening’s “90 Oscars” celebration.
In addition, montages of actors and actresses who won Oscars throughout the award’s 90 years were shown before each category’s 2018 nominees were announced.
Oscars Paid Tribute to America’s Veterans
And Native-American actor Wes Studi, himself a Vietnam War veteran, introduced a montage of clips from classic Hollywood war movies as the Motion Picture Academy paid tribute to America’s veterans.
Other Winners ‘Dunkirk,’ ‘Coco,’ ‘Blade Runner 2049’
While The Shape of Water won the most Oscars on the night, Dunkirk won three, and Three Billboards, Darkest Hour, Coco and Blade Runner 2049 each won two. Phantom Thread, which represented Best Actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis’ swansong as a movie actor, won only one award, for Best Costume Design.
Dunkirk, director Christopher Nolan’s epic about the British army’s miraculous evacuation of Dunkirk, France, in 1940, won Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.
Besides Gary Oldman’s win for Best Actor, Darkest Hour won an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Blade Runner 2049 won Oscars for Best Cinematography (Roger Deakins) and Best Visual Effects.
Coco won Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”).
‘Lady Bird’ Was Shut Out
Lady Bird, which many considered a favorite for several Oscars, was shut out – including its director and screenwriter, Greta Gerwig, who based the story of a teen-aged girl coming of age in Sacramento, Calif., on her own life. Gerwig was nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for Lady Bird, but did not win either award.
Jordan Peele Was First African-American Screenplay Winner
The Best Original Screenplay Oscar went to Jordan Peele for Get Out, for which he was also nominated for Best Director. Peele’s Oscar for Best Original Screenplay represented the first time that an African-American had ever won an Oscar in that category. Get Out was nominated for Best Picture but did not win.
Nominated Women Who Did Not Win
Gerwig was one of several women who were nominated for Oscars this year who did not win, despite the evening’s emphasis on female achievement. Another was Rachel Morrison, nominee for Best Cinematographer for Mudbound, the first woman ever nominated for cinematography in the Oscars’ 90-year history.
Frances McDormand Paid Tribute to Women Nominees
When Frances McDormand won her Oscar, she invited every woman in the theater who had been nominated that evening to stand and take a bow, whether they won or not. She also made an unprecedented request, encouraging all actors to request inclusion riders, which would require producers to diversify a project's cast and crew, as part of their contractual agreements. It was one of the evening’s most dramatic moments.
Kimmel Led Stars in Elaborate Thank You To Moviegoers
In one very elaborate bit, Kimmel led a contingent of top stars up the aisle of the theater and out the door to a movie theater across the street where they surprised an audience watching a preview of A Wrinkle in Time, which is set to be released on March 9th.
Joining Kimmel on this impromptu mission to thank moviegoers for buying tickets and going to the movies for 90 years were Guillermo Del Toro, Lupita Nyong’o, Armie Hammer, Mark Hamill, Margot Robbie and Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Basketball Star Kobe Bryant Won an Oscar
Among the surprise winners of the night was NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who won an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for Dear Basketball, which Bryant wrote and co-produced. He shared his Oscar with director Glen Keane.
Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty Reunited To Announce Best Picture
Though it had been rumored in the days leading up to the Oscars, the appearance on-stage of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the co-stars of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), in the telecast’s final minutes to present the Best Picture Oscar came as a surprise to most.
The appearance was no doubt arranged in order to give the two veteran stars a second chance at getting the Best Picture announcement right following the snafu a year earlier when Beatty declared La La Land as Best Picture, when the winner was actually Moonlight – a mistake that led to bedlam on-stage at the close of the 2017 Oscars.
In 2018, the two stars got it right when they awarded the Best Picture Oscar to The Shape of Water.