‘Joker’ leads Oscar nominations, women fall behind

Despite highly acclaimed performances by women and people of color, the 92nd Academy Awards will celebrate films by and about white men. 

Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures via AP
Florence Pugh (left) and Saoirse Ronan (center) were nominated for Oscars on Monday, Jan. 13, 2019 for their performances in "Little Women," which was also nominated for Best Picture. The director, Greta Gerwig, was not nominated.

For the 87th time, the academy selected all-male directing nominees despite a year in which women made historic gains behind the camera. The most likely candidate was Greta Gerwig ("Little Women"), who was the last woman nominated, two years ago for "Lady Bird." "Congratulations to those men," said Issa Rae, who presented the nominees alongside John Cho on Monday.

There were some surprises. Awkwafina, who was poised to become just the second Asian American nominated for best actress (the first, 1936 nominee Merle Oberon, hid her South Asian heritage), wasn't nominated for her acclaimed leading performance in "The Farewell." Also overlooked was "Frozen 2," the highest grossing animated film ever; Beyoncé, for her "Lion King" song; or the hit documentary "Apollo 11."

Most glaringly, Jennifer Lopez, long considered a supporting actress front-runner for her performance in “Hustlers,” was also denied her first Oscar nomination.

Those oversights left the Oscars with their least diverse field since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the film academy to diversify its membership. The only actor of color nominated was Cynthia Erivo, the British actress, for her Harriet Tubman in "Harriet." The other nominees for best actress are: Scarlett Johansson, "Marriage Story"; Saoirse Ronan, "Little Women"; Charlize Theron, "Bombshell"; Renée Zellweger, "Judy."

Todd Phillips’ much-debated supervillain origin story and R-rated box-office smash "Joker" topped all films with 11 Academy Awards nominations, while Martin Scorsese’s elegiac crime epic "The Irishman," Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s Los Angeles fairy tale "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" and Sam Mendes’ World War I tale "1917" all trailed close behind with 10 nods apiece.

Those four were among the nine films nominated for best picture. The others were: "Parasite," "Little Women," "Marriage Story," "Jojo Rabbit" and "Ford v Ferrari."

While "Joker" was expected to do well Monday, the academy's overwhelming support for a movie that was far from a critical favorite was unexpected. The film's nominations included best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and best director for Mr. Phillips.

The results for "The Irishman," "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," and "1917" were nearly just as good.

The 10 nominations for "The Irishman" tied the most for a Netflix film, following "Roma" last year. Mr. Scorsese (a one-time winner) was nominated for best director for the ninth time. The film also won nods for Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and its de-aging special effects.

"1917" followed up its Golden Globes win and strong opening weekend at the box office with nominations not just for its technical achievement (including Mr. Mendes' directing and Roger Deakins' cinematography) but for best screenplay, too.

"Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" was also nominated in just about every category it was expected to, including Mr. Tarantino for directing and screenplay, best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.

The nominees for best actor are: Antonio Banderas, "Pain and Glory"; Leonardo DiCaprio, "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood"; Adam Driver, "Marriage Story"; Jonathan Pryce, "The Two Popes"; Joaquin Phoenix, "Joker."

The nominees for best supporting actress are: Kathy Bates, "Richard Jewell"; Laura Dern, "Marriage Story"; Scarlett Johansson, "Jojo Rabbit"; Florence Pugh, "Little Women"; Margot Robbie, "Bombshell."

The nominees for best supporting actor are: Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"; Anthony Hopkins, "The Two Popes"; Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood"; Joe Pesci, "The Irishman"; Al Pacino, "The Irishman."

The nominees for best international film are: "Corpus Christi," Poland; "Honeyland," North Macdeonia; "Les Miserables," France; "Pain and Glory," Spain; "Parasite," South Korea.

The best director nominees are: Bong Joon Ho, "Parasite"; Sam Mendes, "1917"; Todd Phillips, "Joker"; Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"; Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood."

The nominees for documentary feature are: 'American Factory"; "The Cave"; "The Edge of Democracy"; "For Sama"; "Honeyland."

The nominees for best animated feature film: "How to Train a Dragon: The Hidden World"; "Toy Story 4"; "I Lost My Body"; "Klaus"; "Missing Link."

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place Feb. 9 in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre. For the second straight year, it will go without a host. ABC will again broadcast the show, viewership for which last year rose 12% to 29.6 million.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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