Richard Jenkins was nominated in 2018 for his role of Giles in The Shape of Water. The closeted character, living in Cold War-era America, feels trapped in time between the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals he worships and the era of gay liberation that is just over the horizon.
As narrator of the film, Giles tells the modern-day viewer of the fairy tale he witnessed, involving a mute young woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), and the amphibious being she falls in love with. Giles, who faces job discrimination as well as rejection by a man he loves due to societal stigma, knows what it's like to be an outsider. It is this understanding that allows him to empathize with Elisa's romance and help her overcome its obstacles.