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Every year, a movie slips into theaters in the dead of December, playing enough theaters in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscar consideration, and then receive a surge on Oscar Nomination morning. Usually, it's a pedigree film from a proven contender, your Clint Eastwoods or Alejandro Innaritus of the film world. This year, it was Paul Thomas Anderson's masterfully restrained fashion drama Phantom Thread that snuck into the race, and this morning, the movie announced its presence as a legitimate Oscar contender with a whopping six nominations, including four in the major categories.
Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread follows esteemed dress designer Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he falls into something that resembles love with an unassuming waitress, played by Vicky Krieps. PTA, DDL and the movie, itself, all scored major Oscar nominations this morning, as Phantom Thread will contend in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor categories. While Krieps was overlooked, her co-star Lesley Manville showed up in the Best Supporting Actress category for her controlling turn as Reynolds' sister, and support system, Cyril.
Will it win in any of those main categories? Probably not, but getting into the categories is the first step, and from here, anything can happen. And I'm not saying that in a way that I'd be saying it for, like, Darkest Hour. Which is a Best Picture nominee, but has no real shot at winning at the Academy Awards (though Gary Oldman has to be viewed as the frontrunner for disappearing into the role of Winston Churchill).
If Focus Features were to somehow play its cards right, Phantom Thread is the kind of Oscar prestige picture that absolutely could climb its way back into a tight Oscar race. The film nabbed Picture and Director, as well as two acting noms. Can't you see an Oscar campaign that celebrates Daniel Day-Lewis' announced "final" film role? It's other two noms include Costume Design (because of course) and Score for frequent PTA collaborator Jonny Greenwood. The movie proved this morning that it is liked and respected by the Academy. It has the makings of a solid Academy Awards contender. The field has been cleared and the races essentially start over again as of this morning. Phantom Thread, with these six nominations, shows itself to be a contender... and a strong one, at that.
The Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, with Jimmy Kimmel returning to host the show. Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water leads all nominees this year with 13, while Jordan Peele's Get Out has also proven to be a solid contender. If you like Oscar talk, might I recommend CinemaBlend's weekly awards podast, AwardsBlend. We record it live each week, but if you want to download past episodes (and subscribe to us on iTunes), head over here.