Oscars: Octavia Spencer makes history with The Shape of Water nomination
Mudbound’s Rachel Morrison blazed a trail for women as the first female nominated for best cinematography, and Octavia Spencer similarly forged a monumental path for black actresses upon receiving her third Oscar nomination Tuesday morning.
Upon scoring the nod for her supporting performance in Guillermo del Toro’s fantastical romance The Shape of Water, Spencer became the only black actress to follow up an Oscar victory with two nominations, having previously won for the 2011 hit The Help. She extends the record after last year becoming the first black woman to receive a post-win nomination — that one for her role in Hidden Figures.
Additionally, Spencer is now the first black actress to receive two consecutive nods from the Academy in back-to-back years. With three nominations to her name, the 47-year-old also ties last year’s supporting actress champion, Fences star Viola Davis, as the most nominated black actress in the Academy Awards’ 90-year history.
On the men’s side, several actors have achieved the feat, including this year’s best actor nominee Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel, Esq.), who’s earned six nominations (including a further win) after securing his first Oscar for the 1989 historical drama Glory. Similarly, Morgan Freeman was nominated for his performance in 2009’s Invictus after winning his first Academy Award for 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.
Including Spencer, The Shape of Water — about a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) who falls in love with a humanoid sea creature — tallied 13 total Oscar nominations (including best picture) three days after being named the Producers Guild of America’s top film of 2017, one of the most important precursor victories on the awards circuit.
Final balloting for Academy members begins Feb. 20 and ends on Feb. 27. Oscars will be handed out Sunday, March 4 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC’s broadcast of the ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, begins at 6:30 p.m. ET.