(Bloomberg) -- “Get Out,” the small-budget horror hit that doubles as a racial allegory, was one of nine pictures nominated for the Oscar for best picture, a milestone for Hollywood as the entertainment industry seeks to better reflect society.
Jordan Peele, director of the Universal Pictures film, became only the fifth African-American to be nominated for best director when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences unveiled this year’s contenders Tuesday. He’ll compete against Greta Gerwig, the fifth woman ever nominated, for her work on “Lady Bird,” another best-picture candidate.
The Academy has been expanding its membership to include more women and minorities after the Oscars So White campaign on Twitter called attention to the lack of diversity among nominees. A cascade of sexual harassment scandals, which took down perennial Oscar winner Harvey Weinstein among others, is also weighing heavily on this year’s awards ceremony, which will air March 4.
“The Shape of Water,” a fantasy love story about a janitor who falls in love with an amphibian-humanoid in a science lab, led all movies with 13 nominations, a victory for 21st Century Fox Inc’s Fox Searchlight studio. Director Guillermo del Toro, who’s from Mexico, was also nominated.
The movie helped Fox lead all studios with 27 nominations, with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” also nominated for best picture, where it was the favorite to win before the nominations were announced, according to odds tracker Gold Derby. The black comedy features Frances McDormand, who was nominated for best actress, as a divorcee who is grieving over the murder and rape of her daughter. It won best drama at the Golden Globes this month, while “Lady Bird,” from A24 Films LLC, won best comedy/musical.
“Get Out” follows a young black photographer who goes with his white girlfriend to visit her parents in the country, only to discover the other people of color have had their minds taken over. Star Daniel Kaluuya is nominated for best actor. The movie, written and directed by Peele, generated $255 million worldwide off a production budget of $4.5 million for Comcast Corp.’s Universal and co-producer Blumhouse Productions, adding to the evidence that the appeal of minority-led movies is still underestimated in Hollywood.
Netflix Inc., which has met resistance in the entertainment industry by trying to release films online at the same time they debut in theaters, missed out on a best-picture nomination again this year. But “Mudbound,” an intergenerational saga set in postwar Mississippi, got four nominations, including best supporting actress for Mary J. Blige and best cinematographer for Rachel Morrison -- the first woman ever to contend in the category.
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