After years of arguably being one of the best directors working in Hollywood, The Academy has finally given Christopher Nolan the recognition he deserves. The Oscar nominations were released today and Nolan has officially been nominated in the Best Director category for his work on the WWII epic Dunkirk. The movie actually scored the second most nominations overall with eight, trailing only The Shape of Water, which earned an impressive 13 nominations.
Christopher Nolan will be competing against The Shape of Water director Guillermo Del Toro for the coveted Oscar. Greta Gerwig also scored a nomination for Lady Bird, marking just the fifth time in the history of the Academy Awards that a woman has earned a Best Director nomination. Rounding out the category is Jordan Peele for Get Out and Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread. This could easily be the most competitive category this year. Here’s what Nolan had to say following the news of Dunkirk‘s Oscar nominations.
“It was a great honor and a privilege to sit with the last remaining veterans of Dunkirk and also very daunting in that it was an awesome responsibility. It was very appropriate to have that in the back of our mind while we did this film. The first time we showed it was to the veterans, a group of about 20 veterans, sadly some of the people I had talked to had passed on.”
Surprisingly, the only other times The Academy Awards have even acknowledged Christopher Nolan up to this point were as a screenwriter for Best Original Screenplay for both Memento and Inception, which also earned a Best Picture nomination that year. Since Inception was nominated for Best Picture, many felt Nolan should have been nominated for Best Director that year as well. He’s also the man behind The Dark Knight, which is arguably the movie, more than any other in his career, most deserving of a Best Director and Best Picture nomination. It was snubbed in both categories.
Dunkirk is one of the most critically-beloved movies of 2017 and is one of few legitimate blockbusters that has actually managed to get a ton of Oscar nominations as well. The Warner Bros. war movie made $525.5 million worldwide, far exceeding expectations. Christopher Nolan also talked a bit about how his desire to make the movie was brought on by a real life experience. He, along with his wife, producer Emma Thomas and another friend found themselves in a small boat crossing the English Channel to Dunkirk in the middle of bad weather and heavy waves.
“I think the impact of making the crossing the way the ships had in 1940s was a bit of the fairy tale to me before that, but that [trip] suddenly made it very real. The bravery it took to make the arduous crossing knowing they were heading into a war zone. I think they did an amazing thing.”
Dunkirk is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer), Best Sound Mixing (Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, Mark Weingarten), Best Sound Editing (Richard King), Best Film Editing (Lee Smith), Best Cinematography (Hoyte Van Hoytema) and Best Production Design (Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis). Can Christopher Nolan beat out the heavy competition and win for Best Director at The Academy Awards this year? We’ll see how it all shakes out when the Oscars or presented on March 4.