The Oscars 2020 Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced on Monday morning. Many expectations were met and many failed guesses were witnessed. The dark comedy from DC “Joker” was in the lead amongst nominated films with 11 nods. A leading 24 nominations were earned by Netflix which included best picture honors for “The Irishman”” and “Marriage Story”.
A number of varied films were competing for the Oscars 2020, this year. Although some may argue that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with 9000 members has lived up to its dubious tradition by giving the most nominations to four male (and white) movies. “Joker” from the Warner Bros. which features the DC comics villain, took the lead with 11 nominations, including those for best picture, director, that is, Todd Philips; actor, Joaquin Phoenix and also for the score by HildurGudnadottir.
The amazing World War I epic by Sam Mendes, “1917” from Universal Amblin, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” by Quentin Tarantino from Sony and “The Irishman” by Martin Scorsese, each garnered 10 nominations, including that of best picture recognition. “The Irishman” director Martin Scorsese received the nomination for the best director for the ninth time in his career.
This year the best picture category had 9 nominees: “Joker”, “The Irishman”, “Marriage Story”, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” and “1917” were joined by “Ford v Ferrari”, “Jojo Rabbit”, “Little Women” and “Parasite”.
The British Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo of “Harriet” was the only (black) nominee, with an apparent indication of black actors and actresses being sidelined. Erivo also gained the nomination for a song she wrote for the movie, “Stand Up” along with Joshuah Brian Campbell. Notably, Lupita Nyong’s “Us” and Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite Is My Name” were overlooked in the acting categories, among others.
The academy had earlier made an effort to increase female and minority membership, by inviting more professionals in the movie industry from overseas. However, after four years of the initiative, the organization is composed of 68% male members, out of whom 84% are white.
The academy’s director branch left out women once again from the Oscars 2020 race. They have bypassed acclaimed work by Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”, Greta Gerwig’s : “Little Women” amongst others. Gender and racial diversity in the nominations is still absent and extremely disappointing.
The academy has still shown a bit of progress by recognizing Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite”. This drama-comedy-horror mix earned six nominations, including the first ever best picture nomination, for a South Korean movie. It has also made its way into director, original screenplay and international film categories.
The academy declared that a total of 62 women were nominated across the entire range of categories and that is a record. The documentary branch has nominated four feature length movies, directed or co directed by women. These included “American Factory”, centering around a Chinese billionaire who reopened an automotive plant in Ohio; “The Edge of Democracy”, focusing on Brazilian politics; “For Sama”, which dealt with a woman’s life in the war torn land of Syria; “Honeyland”, which deals with a female beekeeper in the Republic of North Macedonia and lastly and “The Cave” which tells the story of female physicians in Syria who are compelled to treat patients in an underground hospital.
Out of the nine best picture nominees, only two deal with contemporary stories: “Parasite” and “Marriage Story”. The former depicts the story of a poor family which deceives a wealthy family in the modern day Seoul and the latter centers around the divorce of a Brooklyn couple. The rest of the movies in the list are set against the backdrop of the past. For instance, “Joker” and “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” are set during the labor movement. “The Irishman”, “Little Women” and “Jojo Rabbit” are set in the past as well and “Ford v Ferrari” flaunts the golden age of auto racing.
The lead actor nominations for this year’s Oscars went to Joaquin Phoenix for playing a mentally ill outcast turned villain in “Joker”; Adam Driver for playing a woebegone husband in “Marriage Story”; Leonardo DiCaprio who played struggling actor in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”; Antonio Banderas, with his first Oscars nomination for playing a depressed Spanish filmmaker in “Pain and Glory” and lastly Jonathan Pryce for “The Two Popes”.
The best actress Oscars 2020 nominees were received by Erivo for the role of a resolute Harriet Tubman in “Harriet”; Renee Zellweger, for her portrayal of a late-career Judy Garland in “Judy”; Charlize Theron, for the role of TV journalist Megyn Kelly in “Bombshell”; Scarlett Johansson for “Marriage Story” and Saoirse Ronan for “Little Women”.
The best actor in a supporting role nominees stood up to expectations with Tom Hanks for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, Anthony Hopkins for “The Two Popes”, Al Pacino for “The Irishman”, Joe Pesci for “The Irishman” and Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
The best director nominees have some well deserving names as well: Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite”, Sam Mendes for “1917”,Todd Phillips for “Joker”, Martin Scorsese for “The Irishman” and Quentin Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”.
The last decade has been witnessing the Academy awards becoming a wee bit superfluous with numerous precursor ceremonies. These leave the fans and honorees exhausted which is evident as the contents of the envelopes no more being met with surprise. The board of governors have been warned by the sharp declines in TV ratings and so, they had decided in 2018 to move up this year’s ceremony. Hence, it is to be held on 9th February which is two weeks earlier than last year. This happens to be a small truncation but has made the movie town quite tense and excited as well.