DAVID GREENE, HOST:
OK, some big news here in LA this morning - the nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced in Beverly Hills, Calif. And the supernatural romance "The Shape Of Water" swept the nominations, earning 13 in all.
(SOUNDBITE OF ALEXANDRE DESPLAT'S "THE SHAPE OF WATER")
GREENE: Yes, that's the theme from the movie we're hearing there. That music is a great way to segue to NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco, who is covering a lot of film news. She's in Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival - news there, news here in LA. Hi, Mandalit, how are you.
MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Good morning, David.
GREENE: Well, before we get to "The Shape Of Water," some history made this morning, right?
DEL BARCO: That's right. You know, this year's nominees include Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer also known as the director of photography for "Mudbound." And this morning, she became the first woman in the history of the Academy Awards to earn a nomination in this category. The first woman - and we're at number 90 this year. Other notable nominations are Greta Gerwig as best director for "Lady Bird." A woman has only won best director one other time. That was Kathryn Bigelow in 2010 for "The Hurt Locker." And Jordan Peele will compete against her and others for his work on "Get Out," making him just the fifth black man nominated in this category. And, David, you might be shocked to learn that Meryl Streep was nominated for her role as Katharine Graham in "The Post." That's really a big shocker, right?
GREENE: Not so shocking, everyone expected that - but what a performance - and could be some groundbreaking groundbreaking wins this year at the Oscars. Well, let's get back to "Shape Of Water" - 13 nominations. I mean, and that's for a movie on a pretty shoestring budget - right? - just under $20 million to make this.
DEL BARCO: Yes, exactly. And, you know, this is the first nomination for Guillermo del Toro since 2007 when he was nominated for "Pan's Labyrinth." And his lead actors in "The Shape Of Water" are also nominated in the best actor categories. And Guillermo del Toro could join his friends, fellow Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who won the top Oscars in the past few years for their films "Gravity," "Birdman" and "The Revenant." And, David, it could be a big win for Mexico if "Coco" wins as best animated feature. It was a love letter to Mexico and the Day of the Dead holiday. It's catchy song "Remember Me" is also up for best song.
GREENE: And we should say though. "Shape Of Water" getting all of these nominations - getting the most nominations does not necessarily mean that you win best picture. So what other films are competing for that category?
DEL BARCO: Well, that category could go up to 10 pictures. But there were nine nominations this year. And that included "Call Me By Your Name," "Darkest Hour," "Dunkirk." We have "Get Out" and "Lady Bird," "Phantom Thread," "The Post" - of course, "Shape Of Water," like you said, and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."
GREENE: A big list - and we should say before I let you go. You're in Park City covering Sundance. And isn't often - Sundance is often a preview for what movies might get to the Oscars, right? So there might be some familiar titles here for you.
DEL BARCO: Yes, last year, the horror film "Get Out" was a secret midnight premiere here - the hottest ticket in town. "The Big Sick" was a film at this festival as was "Call Me By Your Name" and "Mudbound" and three of the documentary nominations. So, David, I'm now off to see a few more movies that we might be talking about this time next year.
GREENE: You go do that. NPR arts correspondent Mandalit del Barco joining us from member station KPCW in Park City, Utah - thanks, Mandalit.
DEL BARCO: You're welcome, David.
(SOUNDBITE OF BENJAMIN BRATT SONG, REMEMBER ME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.