Oscars: Top nominations overwhelmingly white and male

Written by on 14/01/2020

This year’s Oscar nominations have been announced, with the Joker leading the pack with 11 nods.


The controversial origin film is followed by The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 1917 which have 10 nods each.

However, the Academy Awards are likely to face criticism over lack of diversity after just one black person made it into an acting category and one non-white director was selected for the best director list.

It is the least diverse line-up since the #OscarsSoWhite backlash in 2016, after which the film academy diversified their membership.

Many see diversity as an industry wide problem, with fewer diverse movie green lighted for production in the first place, so reducing the chances of diverse-movie success come award season.

Last years’ Oscars saw three of the top four acting categories won by BAME artists, but it’s a result that clearly won’t be repeated this time round.

British actress and singer Cynthia Erivo was selected in the best supporting actress category, for her role of Harriet Tubman in Harriet – making her the only BAME actor in the field.

Erivo also received a nod in the original song category, for the track Stand Up which she performs.

Other nominees for best actress were Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story; Saoirse Ronan for Little Women; Charlize Theron for Bombshell and Renée Zellweger for Judy.

There had been expectations actress Awkwafina could be nominated for her Golden Globe-winning performance in The Farewell, which would have made her only the second Asian-American actress to receive recognition in the category.

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho made it into the best director category for his comedy thriller Parasite, which received six nominations overall. It is the first time a Korean film has received an Oscar nomination.

In the directing category Bong will be up against Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Todd Phillips for Joker, Sam Mendes for 1917 and Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.

It’s the ninth time Scorsese has been nominated for best director, winning the category in 2007 for The Departed.

No women were selected in the field, a fact that was highlighted by actress Issa Rae, who presented the nominees alongside John Cho, with the pointed compliment: “Congratulations to those men”.

It is the 87th time no women have been nominated in the category in the awards’ 92 year history. Only one woman has ever won – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010.

Many had hoped Little Women director Greta Gerwig might make the cut, after she became only the fifth woman to appear in the category two years ago for her debut feature Ladybird.

Despite not being selected in the best director category, Gerwig did receive a nod in the coveted best picture category – arguably the biggest award of them all – and for adapted screenplay.

The Academy nominations comes just days after a backlash against the BAFTA nods, which saw all-white acting categories and again no women making the cut for best director.

Commenting on the lack of diversity in this year’s awards season, Sky News arts and entertainment correspondent Lucy Cotter said: “Director Steve McQueen said the BAFTA’s is in danger of becoming irrelevant if it fails to be more diverse and a recent study showed people watch the Oscars when those people nominated are more reflective of the population, so change needs to happen.

“Added to this the fact no women were nominated in the directing categories again, and the industry has real issues to address.”

Aside from Cynthia Erivo’s acting nod, other British stars to receive recognition included Sir Sam Mendes for his First World War film 1917, Sir Anthony Hopkins for The Two Popes and Florence Pugh for her role as Amy March in Little Women.

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin were also nominated for best original song for their Rocketman track (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.

Despite his recent Golden Globe win, Taron Egerton did not receive an acting nod for the rock biopic.

It was a good result for Scarlett Johansson, who received two nominations – one for best actress for her performance in Marriage Story, and one for best supporting actress in JoJo Rabbit.

Despite being one of the world’s best paid actresses, she had never before received an Oscar nod.

In the lead actress category Johansson will be up against Erivo, Saoirse Ronan for Little Women, Charlize Theron for Bombshell and Renee Zellweger for Judy.

In the supporting actress category she will have to fend off Pugh, Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell, Laura Dern for Marriage Story and Margot Robbie for Bombshell.

Her Marriage Story co-star, Adam Driver, was also nominated for best actor for his performance in the Netflix drama.

Driver is up against Antonio Banderas for Pain And Glory, Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Joaquin Phoenix in Joker and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes.

After Phoenix took home the Golden Globe for his performance as Arthur Fleck – Crown Prince Of Crime – many see him as the leading contender.

In the supporting actor field, alongside Anthony Hopkins, there is Tom Hanks for A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood, Al Pacino and his The Irishman co-star Joe Pesci and Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.

The coveted best picture category is made up of eight films – Joker, 1917, The Irishman, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood, Ford V Ferrari (released in the UK as Le Mans ’66), Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Marriage Story and Parasite.

Perceived Oscar snubs include Jennifer Lopez not making it into the supporting actress category for her critically acclaimed performance in stripper-move Hustle, and Beyonce’s Lion King song Spirit missing out on a best original song nod.

Despite The Irishman’s strong performance overall, Robert De Niro was notably absent in the best actor category. A Hollywood veteran, De Niro’s been nominated for seven Oscars over the years.

And Eddie Murphy’s comeback movie Dolemite Is My Name was another notable omission, receiving no nods.

Oscar winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 9 February.

(c) Sky News 2020: Oscars: Top nominations overwhelmingly white and male

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