Margot Robbie scores a best actress Oscar nomination

a still from a film called The Eleven O'Clock starring Damon Herriman (left) and Josh Lawson. No photographer credit.
a still from a film called The Eleven O'Clock starring Damon Herriman (left) and Josh Lawson. No photographer credit.

Australian actress Margot Robbie has an appointment with the Oscars.

The 27-year-old Queensland-born actress was nominated for her work on the film I, Tonya.

But she is not going alone: Australian film editor Lee Smith was nominated for his work on the World War II epic Dunkirk.

And Australian filmmakers Derin Seale and Josh Lawson were nominated for their live-action short film, The Eleven O'Clock.

Seale, a director, is the son of Australian cinematographer John Seale, while Lawson is best known for his work as an actor, on series such as House of Lies and the Seven miniseries Hoges: The Paul Hogan Story.

Directed by Seale and written by and starring Lawson, The Eleven O'Clock also stars Australian actors Damon Herriman and Eliza Logan.

Lawson quickly shared his surprise and incredulity on social media: "If I'm dreaming, please no one wake me up," he posted.

New Zealand-born producers Tim Bevan and Anthony McCarten were also nominated for the film Darkest Hour.

In many respects, the unveiling of the nominations for the 90th annual Academy Awards - considered the greatest award in the art of filmmaking - was historic.

Rachel Morrison's nomination as best cinematographer for Mudbound and Greta Gerwig's nomination as best director for Lady Bird were properly historic: they are the first and fifth women, respectively, nominated in those two categories in the history of the Oscars.

Less obvious perhaps is the stunning prominence of The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro's horror masterwork, which led the nominations with nods in 13 categories.

Sally Hawkins plays a non-speaking woman named Elisa in <i>The Shape of Water</i>

Sally Hawkins plays a non-speaking woman named Elisa in The Shape of Water Photo: Supplied

In historic terms, the horror genre does not play well with Oscar voters, and its dominance of this year's awards suggests the Academy's efforts to open up the demographics of its voting membership - historically older and male - is having an impact.

Some way behind The Shape of Water was Dunkirk with eight nominations and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with seven.

The prominence of The Shape of Water also reshapes the "race for best picture", which dominates analysis of the Academy Awards and the "awards season" which precedes it.

Margot Robbie at the Australian premiere of I, Tonya.

Margot Robbie at the Australian premiere of I, Tonya in Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: AAP

Until last weekend's Producers Guild of America awards, many would have said Three Billboards was the strongest contender going into the Oscars but the PGA win for The Shape of Water reshaped that race.

The PGA's Darryl F. Zanuck award, which The Shape of Water won, has foreshadowed 19 of 28 best picture Oscar winners since its inception, close to a 70 per cent success rate.

Two films which last year were considered likely Oscar material - All the Money in the World and The Post - made a poor showing on nomination day.

All the Money in the World was excluded from best picture but took a nod for Christopher Plummer's work as a last-minute replacement for Kevin Spacey, while The Post made best picture but only has one other Oscar nod, for actress Meryl Streep.

And two actors are noticeably absent.

Armie Hammer's performance in Call Me My Your Name was considered one of the season's best but Hammer did not make it into the supporting actor category.

James Franco, meanwhile, whose performance in The Disaster Artist has won him strong notices and a prominence during awards season, was no doubt damaged by reports of inappropriate sexual conduct which were aired in the final weeks of Oscar voting.

Film awards season falls between November and February and includes approximately a dozen key events including the Gotham awards, the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Circle awards, the Golden Globes, the Producers, Screen Actors and Directors Guild awards, the British Academy Film Awards and, finally, the Academy Awards.

The 83rd New York Film Critics awards gave their best film award to Lady Bird, which also won the comedy/musical best film at the Golden Globes; the 43rd annual Los Angeles Film Critics awards gave their best film award to Call Me By Your Name, while del Toro won best director for his work on The Shape of Water.

America's National Society of Film Critics awards also named Lady Bird best picture.

The final window of Oscar voting begins on Tuesday, February 20 and ends one week later; the winners of the 90th annual Academy Awards will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 4.

FULL LIST OF NOMINEES

Best picture: Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Best director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread; Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water; Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird; Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; Jordan Peele, Get Out.

Best actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name; Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread; Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out; Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour; Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best actress: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Margot Robbie, I, Tonya; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird; Meryl Streep, The Post.

Best supporting actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project; Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water; Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World; Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Best supporting actress: Mary J. Blige, Mudbound; Allison Janney, I, Tonya; Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread; Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird; Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water.

Best original screenplay: The Big Sick (Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani), Get Out (Jordan Peele), Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig), The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh).

Best adapted screenplay: Call Me by Your Name (James Ivory), The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber), Logan (screenplay by Scott Frank and James Mangold and Michael Green; story by James Mangold), Molly's Game (Aaron Sorkin), Mudbound (Dee Rees and Virgil Williams).

Best foreign-language film: A Fantastic Woman, Chile; The Insult, Lebanon; Loveless, Russia; On Body and Soul, Hungary; The Square, Sweden.

Best animated feature: The Boss Baby, The Breadwinner, Coco, Ferdinand, Loving Vincent.

Best documentary feature: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Icarus, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island.

Best cinematography: Blade Runner 2049 (Roger Deakins), Darkest Hour (Bruno Delbonnel), Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoytema), Mudbound (Rachel Morrison), The Shape of Water (Dan Laustsen).

Best film editing: Baby Driver (Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss), Dunkirk (Lee Smith), I, Tonya (Tatiana S. Riegel), The Shape of Water (Sidney Wolinsky), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Jon Gregory).

Best sound mixing: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Best sound editing: Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Best visual effects: Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, War for the Planet of the Apes.

Best makeup and hairstyling: Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick; Victoria & Abdul, Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard; Wonder, Arjen Tuiten.

Best costume design: Beauty and the Beast (Jacqueline Durran), Darkest Hour (Jacqueline Durran), Phantom Thread (Mark Bridges), The Shape of Water (Luis Sequeira), Victoria & Abdul (Consolata Boyle).

Best production design: Beauty and the Beast, Blade Runner 2049, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, The Shape of Water.

Best original score: Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer), Phantom Thread (Jonny Greenwood), The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (John Williams), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Carter Burwell).

Best original song: "Mighty River" (Mudbound), "The Mystery of Love" (Call Me by Your Name), "Remember Me" (Coco), "Stand Up for Something" (Marshall), "This Is Me" (The Greatest Showman).

Best live-action short: DeKalb Elementary, Reed Van Dyk; The Eleven O'Clock, Derin Seale and Josh Lawson; My Nephew Emmett, Kevin Wilson, Jr; The Silent Child, Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton; Watu Wote/All of Us, Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen.

Best animated short: Dear Basketball, Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant; Garden Party, Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon; Lou, Dave Mullins and Dana Murray; Negative Space, Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata; Revolting Rhymes, Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer.

Best documentary short: Edith+Eddie, Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright; Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, Frank Stiefel; Heroin(e), Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon; Knife Skills, Thomas Lennon; Traffic Stop, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner.

This story Margot Robbie scores a best actress Oscar nomination first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.