Story of a romance between a woman and a fish scores 13 Oscar nominations
Though The Shape of Water is not traditionally furry (by either the "covered in fur" or the fandom definition), rarely does a movie about the romantic relationship between a human and a humanoid fish monster score 13 Oscar nominations. Writer and director Guillermo del Toro's science fiction fable, inspired by a famous scene in the classic Universal horror picture Creature from the Black Lagoon, is the odds-on favorite to win the Best Picture prize, which will make it the closest thing to a furry movie to claim that prize if it does.
In addition to its Best Picture nomination, it also gained nominations for del Toro in Best Directing and Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (along with screenwriting partner Vanessa Taylor). Del Toro had been previously nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for Pan's Labyrinth (which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which is often credited as a second nomination for del Toro, though technically the nominee there was the country of Mexico due to the odd rules of the category). If del Toro wins for Directing, he will be third of a trio of Mexican directors nicknamed "The Three Amigos" to win the award this decade, after Alfonso Cuarón (winner for 2013 with Gravity) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (winner for 2014 for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and 2015 for The Revenant).
It also gained nominations for a trio of actors. Sally Hawkins (also currently starring in the more traditionally furry Paddington 2) was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, while Richard Jenkins gained a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination. Octavia Spencer's nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role allowed her to tie Viola Davis to become the most nominated black actress ever with the admittedly small number of three nominations, though she'd be best known to furries for her vocal role as another anthropomorphic aquatic character, Mrs. Otterton in Zootopia.
Further nominations for The Shape of Water came in the categories for Best Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
Doug Jones, who plays the fish man (though he is officially credited more accurately as Amphibian Man, rather than fish), was not nominated for his role, however. This is the third time Jones has played an anthropoid fish creature for del Toro; he played the role of Abe Sapien in the director's two adaptations of the Hellboy comics.
Though pundits had acknowledged it was a wide open year before the nomination announcements, The Shape of Water has become far and away the favorite to win after. This is due not only to how many nominations it gained, though 13 is only one behind the all time record of 14 (held jointly by All about Eve, Titanic and La La Land), but due to what it was nominated for. According to Oscar statistics, a movie with nominations in Directing, Film Editing, Writing and an Acting category chances are boosted; The Shape of Water is the only movie this year to be nominated in all those categories. Fellow Best Picture nominees Get Out and Lady Bird are closest, only missing Film Editing nominations. The Shape of Water also boasts a win from the Producers Guild of America, which is considered to be one of the more predictive "precursor" awards due to the fact that the PGA's membership has significant overlap with the Academy, and that they use a similar voting method. However, as last year's ceremony infamously proved, upsets can occur, and the winner isn't 100 percent certain until the correct envelope is opened.
Other furry movies to gain nominations this year included Ferdinand in Best Animated Feature. This is the second adaptation of Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand; a Walt Disney short, "Ferdinand the Bull" won the Best Short Subject (Cartoon) Oscar (now known as Best Animated Short) for 1938. Ferdinand is only the second nominee in the Animated Feature category for Blue Sky Studios after a decade and a half gap; it's first nominee was Ice Age from 2002.
The Visual Effects category, despite being the obvious miss for The Shape of Water that would have given it the record tying nomination, featured two furry movies, with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the category frontrunner, War for the Planet of the Apes receiving nominations. Planet of the Apes star Andy Serkis was one of the two actors (along with Tiffany Haddish) to announce the nominees.