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More glass ceiling broken in 90th annual Oscar nominations

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“The Shape of Water” led the charge in Oscar nominations. (Handout)

Two years of pressure from #OscarsSoWhite was all it took to nudge the Academy in the direction of recognizing a more representative range of artists.

The announcement of the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards on Tuesday saw a few glass ceilings broken.

Rachel Morrison became the first female cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar for her work on Dee Rees’ “Mudbound.” Morrison also shot the highly-anticipated Marvel feature,“Black Panther.”

“Today’s Oscar nom couldn’t have seemed further away not long ago so I hope it tells all the dreamers out there (especially the young girls with cameras in their hands) that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE,” Morrison tweeted.

“Get Out” was redeemed despite snubs at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The genre-bending film about the sinister function of racism in “post-racial” America defied conventional award season wisdom that horror and early releases don’t fare well. It earned four nominations, including best director, best picture, best original screenplay, and best actor in a leading role for Daniel Kaluuya.

Director Jordan Peele became the third person to be nominated for best picture, best director and best screenplay for a debut film, and the fifth black director to be nominated.

Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman nominated for best director for “Lady Bird,” a heartwarming film about a loving, albeit tenous mother-daughter relationship. The film earned five nominations in all.

Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which tells the story of a mute janitor who falls in love with an aquatic humanoid, led the charge with 13 nominations. The film’s best director nod is a first for Del Toro, and Octavia Spencer’s best supporting actress nomination made her the first Black actress to follow an Oscar win with two nominations.

“Dunkirk” trailed behind with eight nominations, including Christopher Nolan’s first time in the best director category.

The acting nominees included a number of Oscar stalwarts — Meryl Streep for “The Post,” Denzel Washington for “Roman J. Israel, Esq.” and Daniel Day-Lewis for “Phantom Thread” —  and eight first-timers. Among those celebrating their first Oscar nod are: Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”), Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards”), Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”) and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”).

In a year that has been dominated by discussions about lingering inequities in the entertainment industry, the nominations in many ways reflected a motion picture academy that has been remaking itself in public view. The academy began taking steps in 2016 to bring more women and people of color into its historically overwhelmingly white and male membership ranks.

Still, it wouldn’t be a stretch to expect another litany of ‘firsts’ a year from now when members cast their nominations for the 91st Academy Awards.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Actor Daveed Diggs 36 … Ed Helms is 44 … Singer Neil Diamond is 77.

Tribune News Service contributed to this report

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