Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite avoided oblivion and is instead heading into the awards ceremony as a strong contender, having scored no less than 10 nods. Black Panther has also made history as the first superhero film to be nominated for Best Picture.
Female directors have once again been snubbed, with the Academy unveiling an all-male list of Best Director nominees. No women were nominated in other roles such as cinematographer, composer, or editor.
Here are the main talking points from this year’s Oscars nominations:
The Favourite performs better than expected
The Favourite – an arch, absurdist comedy-drama about the court of Queen Anne, from the strange mind of experimental Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos – could easily have fallen by the wayside when competing with the more obvious Oscar bait kicking around this year (we’re looking at you Green Book). So it’s something of a miracle that The Favourite has received no less than 10 nominations, including nods for Best Picture, Best Director, Supporting Actress (times two) and Lead Actress. And it looks likely that Olivia Colman, at least, will take home a golden statue for her starring role as Queen Anne. Alexandra Pollard
Once again, female directors are snubbed
It’s the perennial embarrassment of awards season. Outside of the rare exception, including Greta Gerwig’s nomination for Lady Bird last year, female directors almost never get a look-in when it comes to the main the categories. This year is no different. The Best Director category featured all-male nominees, with the Best Picture category also failing to nominate a single film directed by a woman, despite the expanded list of eight different films. It feels particularly egregious this year, when there were several high-profile and critically acclaimed works directed by women that seem primed for awards season, including Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, and Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace. To see Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? nominated in several other categories, including Best Adapted Screenplay, makes the exclusion even more glaring.
Furthermore, the Academy also failed to nominate a single female cinematographer, editor, or composer. Although these exclusions also reflect that fact women in the industry are rarely granted the kind of high-profile jobs that land you an Oscar nomination, the Academy also has the responsibility to help elevate this female talent, even if their work is lesser-known, so as to put them in the spotlight, get them further work, and finally help break this cycle. Clarisse Loughrey
Black Panther is the first superhero film nominated for Best Picture
Black Panther, Ryan Cooler’s fearless, exhilarating Marvel Comics adaptation, has become the first ever superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture. In the past, films such as this have been confined mainly to the Sound and Visual Effects categories; even Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Batman trilogy never managed a Best Picture nod. If anything deserved to break that pattern, though, it was Black Panther. Wakanda Forever. Alexandra Pollard
Sam Elliott, Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio score surprise acting nods – but Timothée Chalamet gets snubbed
Sam Elliott landed a nomination in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category for his role as Bobby Maine, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper)’s manager and half-brother in A Star is Born. This is Elliott’s first Academy Award nomination, and the most high-profile accolade he has earned for the part so far. Marina de Tavira, meanwhile, is nominated in the Actress in a Supporting Role category for her performance as mother Sofia in Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which propelled her to mainstream acclaim. Yalitza Aparicio – who had never acted before she auditioned for Roma – also scored a nomination in the Actress in a Leading Role category, for her role as Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez.
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Notably, Timothée Chalamet’s performance as drug addict Nicholas “Nic” Sheff in Beautiful Boy failed to earn him a nod, despite being overall praised by critics. The film itself isn’t part of this year’s crop of nominees, in what has already been decried as a major snub. Clémence Michallon
Foreign language films break out of their category
One of the most refreshing things about this year’s nominations is seeing films not in the English language actually represented outside of one single category. It’s a positive move in breaking down the concept that filmmaking is an entirely Hollywood-centric production (with a few UK productions thrown into the mix), hopefully meaning that, in the future, we’ll see the traditional notions of an Oscar-worthy film break down and a greater diversity of cinema actually rewarded. Roma has tied with The Favourite, an English language production, albeit by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, for the most awards with 10 nominations. What’s particularly surprising is to see two performances from the film, Marina de Tavira and Yalitza Aparicio, nominated in the acting categories, especially because it puts Roma in a strong position to win. If it does, it would be the first film not in the English language to win Best Picture. Furthermore, Cold War, by Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski, was also nominated in several categories, including (crucially) Best Director and Best Cinematography. Clarisse Loughrey
The Brits continue to dominate
“We want the finest wines available to humanity. And we want them here, and we want them now!”
It’s 31 years since the Academy overlooked Richard E Grant’s indelible performance as a hard-drinking thesp in Withnail and I, that endlessly quotable – and sad – ode to British nihilism. So it’s wonderful news that’s he’s finally been nominated for an Oscar, for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a comedy-drama in which he dials the exuberance up at every turn. Fellow Brits Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz are both nominated, as expected, for The Favourite, while Christian Bale is up for best actor for his portrayal of Dick Cheney – a role for which he said he was inspired by “satan”. Patrick Smith
Green Book falls back without key directing nod
Peter Farrelly’s comedy-drama may have scored five nominations, including two acting nods for Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (in the Actor in a Leading Role and Actor in a Supporting Role categories respectively), but it failed to land a nod in the Directing category – a notable setback in the film’s successful award season thus far. In addition to the two acting nods, Green Book is nominated in the Film Editing and Writing (Original Screenplay) categories, as well as Best Picture – meaning it could still end up being the talk of the night. Clémence Michallon
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