Steppenwolf’s Laurie Metcalf wins first Oscar nomination for ‘Lady Bird’

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Saoirse Ronan (left) and Laurie Metcalf (pictured at the Screen Actors Guild Awards show Sunday) both are nominated for their acting in “Lady Bird.” | MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Longtime Chicago theater actor Laurie Metcalf, who won her first Tony Award last June, is in the running for her first Oscar for her acclaimed work in “Lady Bird.”

Metcalf was one of the five supporting actress nominees announced Tuesday, alongside Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”), Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”).

“I got really emotional because everybody just poured their whole heart and soul into doing this film. I’m so happy for Greta [Gerwig] and Saoirse [Ronan] and the whole movie,” Laurie Metcalf said during an interview Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”

It was also a strong day for former Chicago improviser Jordan Peele, whose directorial debut “Get Out” is a best picture nominee, up against “Call Me By Your Name,” “Darkest Hour,” “Dunkirk,” “Lady Bird,” “Phantom Thread,” “The Post,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

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Peele also is in the running for the best director and best original screenplay Oscars for the racially charged horror film. He tweeted that he spoke to the film’s star, Daniel Kaluuya, a best actor nominee. “You know when you’re on the phone trying to disguise the sound of an ugly cry?” Peele wrote. “I failed at that.”

In the screenplay category, Peele is up against a pair of writers who also have Chicago history: comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon, who told the story of their courtship in “The Big Sick.” The writers of “Lady Bird,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards …” also are nominated.

Chicago native and Latin School grad Virgil Williams is a best adapted screenplay contender for co-writing “Mudbound” with its director, Dee Rees. The competing films are “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Disaster Artist,” “Logan” and “Molly’s Game.”

“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro’s lavish monster romance, leads all contenders with 13 nominations, just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations shared by “All About Eve,” ”Titanic” and “La La Land.”

“Lady Bird” maestro Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman nominated for best director by the Academy Awards, and “Mudbound” cinematographer Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman ever nominated in the category in nominations announced Tuesday.

Gerwig’s competition includes “Dunkirk” director Christopher Nolan (who spent some of his childhood in Chicago), along with Peele, del Toro and “Phantom Thread” filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.

“The Disaster Artist” director and star James Franco, considered a major best actor contender after claiming the prize at the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice awards but dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct that he has denied, was shut out of the Oscar category. Up for that award are Kaluuya, Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Phantom Thread”), Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) and Denzel Washington (“Roman J. Israel, Esq.”).

In the running for best actress are Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water”), Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards …”), Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”), Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) and Meryl Streep (“The Post”).

Sam Rockwell, the front-runner for best supporting actor after Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award wins, will compete for the Oscar against his “Three Billboards …” co-star Woody Harrelson. Also up for that prize are Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”), Richard Jenkins (“The Shape of Water”) and Christopher Plummer, a last-minute fill-in for the disgraced Kevin Spacey in “All the Money in the World.”

Nominees for best foreign film include Chilean director Sebastian Lelio’s drama with a transgender heroine, “A Fantastic Woman”; Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri’s forceful “The Insult”; and Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s stark divorce story “Loveless.”

Also nominated are mystical abattoir drama “On Body and Soul” by Hungarian director Ildiko Enyedi, and Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund’s art world satire “The Square.”

Jimmy Kimmel will return as host for the second year at this year’s Oscars on March 4.

Last year’s broadcast drew 32.9 million viewers for ABC, a 4 percent drop from the prior year. More worrisome, however, was a steeper slide in the key demographic of adults aged 18-49, whose viewership was down 14 percent from 2016.

Though the show ran especially long, at three hours and 49 minutes, it finished with a bang: the infamous envelope mix-up that led to “La La Land” being incorrectly announced as the best picture before “Moonlight” was crowned.

This year, the academy has prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show. The accounting firm on Monday also unveiled several reforms including the addition of a third balloting partner in the show’s control room. Neither of the PwC representatives involved in the mishap last year, Brian Cullinan or Martha Ruiz, will return to the show.

Contributing: Associated Press

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