Fantasy romance "The Shape of Water" topped the Oscars nominations list on Tuesday with 13 nods, as the Academy also gave a rare nomination to a woman in the directing category.
Guillermo del Toro's Cold War-set fairy tale scored nods for best picture, best director, best actress for its star Sally Hawkins, and supporting acting nominations for Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer.
It was also nominated for best original screenplay, with the rest of its nods coming in technical categories.
The haul fell one short of the record for most nominations ever, held jointly by "La La Land," "Titanic" and "All About Eve."
"This nomination is for every one of us who brought our hearts to this film," Hawkins said in a statement retweeted by the movie's official Twitter account.
"I'm here because of the greatness of others. I stand on the shoulders of giants."
In second place was tense World War II movie "Dunkirk," with eight nods, while crime drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," generally thought to be the favorite in the best picture category, picked up seven nominations.
The 90th Academy Awards -- the climax of Hollywood's awards season, to be hosted by late night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel -- will be held on March 4.
- Women filmmakers recognized -
In a departure from previous years, there are very few clear frontrunners, making the major categories a genuine sprint to the finish line rather than the perfunctory coronation sometimes inflicted on viewers.
The announcements were seen as an opportunity for the industry to support female filmmaking, with the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality a mainstay of the 2018 awards circuit.
Female filmmakers were snubbed at the Golden Globes, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be seen as having righted that wrong to some degree, with its nod for Greta Gerwig, the director of "Lady Bird."
Before Tuesday, just four women had been nominated for best director since 1927.
On Tuesday, there was also the first nod for a female cinematographer, Rachel Morrison, who shot Dee Rees's racial drama "Mudbound."
- Streep, Day-Lewis in the hunt -
"The Shape of Water" will vie for best picture honors with eight other films, including "Dunkirk," "Three Billboards," coming-of-age movies "Call Me By Your Name" and "Lady Bird" and Winston Churchill saga "Darkest Hour."
Others in the coveted top category are dark satire "Get Out," Daniel Day-Lewis's apparent final film "Phantom Thread" -- he has announced his retirement -- and Pentagon Papers thriller "The Post."
"Three Billboards" -- buoyed by strong showings at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards -- goes into the final weeks of Oscars campaigning in pole position, according to the Gold Derby awards prediction website.
For best actor, Day-Lewis will battle for a golden statuette with Timothee Chalamet ("Call Me by Your Name"), Daniel Kaluuya ("Get Out"), Gary Oldman ("Darkest Hour") and Denzel Washington ("Roman J. Israel, Esq.").
In the best actress category, Hawkins has competition from Frances McDormand ("Three Billboards"), Margot Robbie ("I, Tonya"), Saoirse Ronan ("Lady Bird") and Meryl Streep ("The Post").
Best supporting actor pits Jenkins against Christopher Plummer, a last-minute stand-in for Kevin Spacey, who was dropped from "All the Money in the World" after being accused of numerous cases of sexual misconduct.
The other nominees were Willem Dafoe ("The Florida Project"), Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (both "Three Billboards").
The foreign films nominated are "A Fantastic Woman" (Chile), "The Insult" (Lebanon), "Loveless" (Russia), "On Body and Soul" (Hungary) and "The Square" (Sweden).
In the best director category, Gerwig and Del Toro take on Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk"), Jordan Peele ("Get Out") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("Phantom Thread").
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