‘Roma,’ ‘The Favourite’ lead Oscar nomination with 10 nods
NEW YORK — Oscar voters on Tuesday showered Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” and Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” with a leading 10 nominations for the 91st Academy Awards, while two dominant but contentious Hollywood forces — Netflix and Marvel — each scored their first best picture nomination.
Though many expected “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper’s tear-inducing revival of one of Hollywood’s most oft-remade show-business myths, to top the nominations, Cooper was surprisingly overlooked as director and the academy instead put its fullest support behind a pair of indies by international directors.
With the black-and-white, Spanish-language “Roma,” Netflix scored its first best picture nomination, a prize the streaming giant has dearly sought. Marvel, too, joined the club with Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther,” the first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture.
Cuaron tied the record for most decorated Oscar nominee ever for one film with four individual nods for “Roma,” his deeply personal exhumation of his Mexico City childhood. Cuaron was nominated for direction, cinematography, original screenplay and best picture. Only Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane”) and Warren Beatty (who did it twice with “Reds” and “Heaven Can Wait”) have matched the four-nod feat.
Just as rewarded Tuesday was Lanthimos’ period romp, which resounded most in the acting categories thanks to its trio of actresses: Olivia Colman in the best actress category, and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in supporting.
Along with “Roma” and “The Favourite,” the eight nominees for best picture were: Peter Farrelly’s interracial road trip tale “Green Book,” Ryan Coogler’s superhero sensation “Black Panther,” Spike Lee’s white supremacist evisceration “BlacKkKlansman,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Adam McKay’s highly critical Dick Cheney biopic “Vice” and “A Star Is Born,” which still landed eight nominations, including best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott.
“Black Panther,” the year’s biggest domestic box-office hit and a bona fide cultural event, finally cracked the category long kryptonite to superheroes. Despite the overwhelming popularity of comic book movies, they had previously been shunned from Hollywood’s top honor to the consternation of some industry insiders. After “The Dark Knight” was snubbed in 2009, the academy expanded the best picture category from five to up to 10 nominees.
The lush, big-budget craft of “Black Panther” was rewarded with seven total nominations, including Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart’s production design, Terence Blanchard’s score, Ruth Carter’s costume design and Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s “All the Stars.” Beachler became the first African-American nominated for production design.
There has likewise been resistance among some academy members to awarding Netflix films since the company typically bypasses movie theaters. Steven Spielberg has said Netflix films are more like TV movies and deserve an Emmy, not an Oscar.
Netflix altered its policy for “Roma” and the Coen brothers’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (which earned three unexpected nods), premiering them first in theaters before debuting them on Netflix. In turn, it was rewarded with 13 nominations overall, second only to Fox Searchlight’s 15.
Thirty years after landing a writing nod for 1989’s “Do the Right Thing,” Spike Lee was nominated for his first directing Oscar for his “BlacKkKlansman.” The other directing nominees were Lanthimos, Cuaron, Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”) and McKay (“Vice”) — a field that, a year after continued focus on gender inequality in Hollywood, included no female directors. Some had campaigned for Debra Granik (“Leave No Trace”) or Chloe Zhao (“The Rider”) to become the sixth woman ever nominated for best director.
The nominations, announced by Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross from the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, California, included plenty of surprises. In a banner year for documentaries, the Fred Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” was snubbed despite more than $22 million in ticket sales (a huge sum for a doc). Instead the nominees were “Free Solo,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Minding the Gap,” “Of Fathers and Sons” and the Ruth Bader Ginsberg portrait “RBG.”
The acting categories played out largely as expected with a few notable differences. Along with Lady Gaga and Colman, the best actress nominees are Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”), Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).
In best actor, the expected front runner Christian Bale was nominated for his transformation into Cheney in “Vice” (his fourth Oscar nod), along with Cooper, Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”). Notably left out were Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”) and John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”).
The nominees for best supporting actress were Amy Adams (“Vice”), Marina De Tavira (“Roma”), Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), along with Stone and Weisz. Tavira was something a surprise, likely unseating Claire Foy of “First Man.”
But perhaps the biggest acting snub came in best supporting actor, where Timothee Chalamet, who broke through last year with “Call Me By Your Name,” was left out for his drug addict turn in “Beautiful Boy.” Nominated were previous winner Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) and Sam Rockwell (“Vice”), who won the trophy last year.
Some Oscar regulars were honored again. Joel and Ethan Coen notched their seventh screenwriting nomination. Close, never a winner, landed her seventh acting nod. But the nominees were crowded with first-timers, including new performers (Aparicio) and veteran ones (Grant, Colman, Driver, King). Paul Schrader, the 72-year-old “Taxi Driver” scribe, was nominated for his first Oscar for the script to his religious thriller “First Reformed.”
The lead-up to Tuesday’s nominations was rocky for both the film academy and some of the contending movies. Shortly after being announced as host, comedian Kevin Hart was forced to withdraw over years-old homophobic tweets that the comedian eventually apologized for. That has left the Oscars, one month before the Feb. 24 ceremony, without an emcee, and likely to stay that way.
Some film contenders, like “Green Book” and the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” have suffered waves upon waves of backlash, even as their awards tallies have mounted. Before landing five nominations Tuesday, “Green Book” — which has been criticized for relying on racial tropes — won the top award from the Producers Guild, an honor that has been a reliable Oscar barometer. In the 10 years since the Oscars expanded its best-picture ballot, the PGA winner has gone on to win best picture eight times.
The season’s steadiest contender — Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” — looked potentially unbeatable until it got beat. Despite an enviable string of awards and more than $400 million in worldwide box office, Cooper’s lauded remake was almost totally ignored at the Golden Globes. Still, “A Star Is Born” was the sole film to land top nominations from virtually every guild group.
Potentially benefiting this year’s broadcast will be a number of popular nominees. “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” have all done enormous box office. Just how many people have seen “Roma,” though, remains a mystery. Netflix doesn’t release box office receipts or streaming viewership.
It’s also an usually international crop of nominees. It’s only the second time directors from two foreign language films were nominated for best director (Cuaron and Poland’s Pawlikowski). “Roma” is aiming to be the first foreign language film to ever win best picture. Some of that could be attributed to changing academy, which has greatly expanded its ranks in recent years to diversify its membership, including more overseas members.
Up for best foreign language film are “Roma,” “Cold War” (Poland), “Capernaum” (Lebanon), “Never Look Away” (Germany) and the Palme d’Or winner, “Shoplifters” (Japan). /atm
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