Minnesotans who checked out the recent Guillermo del Toro exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art were well-primed to embrace the Mexican director’s triumph in this year’s Academy Award nominations: his strangely sexy merman story The Shape of Water leads nominees with 13 nods. Not much connection to The Current’s playlist there, unless you count the occasional spin of Prince’s “Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)” — but as always, you will see several significant music artists on the red carpet.
Original Song nominees include Sufjan Stevens, who contributed the typically tender “Mystery of Love” to the romance Call Me By Your Name. He’s up against perennial nominee (though never a winner) Diane Warren (“Stand Up for Something,” Marshall); La La Land lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman); and the husband-and-wife duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (“Remember Me,” Coco), whose “Let It Go” is sure to be performed by Idina Menzel on Nicollet Mall this Friday. The fifth nominee is “Mighty River,” whose singer and co-songwriter Mary J. Blige is also up for Actress in a Supporting Role for Mudbound.
You’ll also find a familiar artist in the Original Score category, where Radiohead member Jonny Greenwood is nominated for his lush orchestral Phantom Thread score. His competition is stiff, including the man who’s been nominated for more Oscars than any individual other than Walt Disney: composer John Williams, up for The Last Jedi. Alexandre Desplat is up for Shape of Water, Coachella sensation Hans Zimmer was nominated for Dunkirk, and Carter Burwell got a nod for Three Billboards. In that film, the Fargo composer re-teamed with fellow nominee Frances McDormand, who won for her role as Marge Gunderson in that iconic Minnesota flick.
So, that’s what we know now. So many questions remain…who will win? What will Sufjan wear? What will the merman wear?