From 2.12.19 post by’s Brian Lowry, “Three Billboards Backlash Flows From Debate Over Its Message”:

Three Billboards is one of a handful of films perceived as having a legitimate shot at being named best picture — an unusually wide-open field, given that the focus by now has usually concentrated around two or three. Part of that likely has to do with (a) the absence of many truly great movies this year, and (b) the fact that key contenders — like The Shape of Water (the pick by the directors and producers guilds) and Get Out (the WGA’s original screenplay winner) — come from genres that seldom receive top awards recognition.”

Variety art by Jonathan Bartlett.

Did he just say “seldom”?

What Lowry meant is that fantasy flicks about aquatic creatures lusting after human females (i.e., 1954’s The Creature From The Black Lagoon) have never been regarded as Oscar fare in years past. Ditto dark social satires with horror-zombie undertones (i.e., 1956’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers).

Neither Get Out nor The Shape of Water would’ve even been considered as Best Picture contenders ten or even five years ago, much less favored to win. But now they are, thanks to the younger, fringe-y Academy members who’ve been ushered in over the last two or three years.

From “New Oscar Bait Hinges on Tribal Identity,” posted by “filmklassik” on 1.14.18: “In this particular cultural moment it’s all about Tribal Identity. And [now] we have a whole generation now for whom Tribal representation is, to use one critic’s word, numinous.

“The under-40 crowd has invested Race, Gender and Sexuality with a kind of cosmic significance. It doesn’t mean a lot to them — it means everything to them. Indeed, much of their conversation and writing seems to always come back to it. Identity politics definitely drives their votes.”

In a 2.7.18 Variety piece, Marshall Fine asked if “this be one of those rare years when Oscar shows the lowly ‘genre’ film a little love? Undoubtedly, if only because so many of this year’s best-picture contenders come wrapped in indie-film credibility and are layered with contemporary sensibilities that elevate the films beyond the ‘genre’ label.”