• Nate Adams

Column: The 92nd Academy Award Nominations are in and they are…meh


Courtesy of AMPAS

One year after the cultural touchstone “Black Panther” became the first superhero movie ever nominated for the top honor, in strolls Todd Phillips heavily scrutinized “Joker” – the gritty R rated origin tale of Batman’s greatest foe – with 11 Oscar nominations that were announced Monday morning. I’m sure the folks over at Warner Bros were thrilled to see their $1 billon grosser join the rare company of “Titanic” and most recently, “La La Land” to become one of the most nominated films in Oscar history.

Following on “Joker’s” heels, Martin Scorsese’s mobster epic “The Irishman,” Sam Mendes’ exhilarating one-shot tour-de force “1917,”and Quentin Tarantino’s frontrunner “Once Upon A Time In…Hollywood” walked away with 10 noms each. Meanwhile, “Parasite” became the first Korean film in the history of the Academy Awards to score a Best Picture nominee (it was my #1 movie of 2019), and it will go up against fellow nominees: “Ford V Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Marriage Story,” “The Irishman,” “1917,” “OUATIH,” “Little Women,” and of course “Joker” for the top prize when the awards are handed out Sunday Feb 9th on ABC.

While all those filmmakers and artists deserve praise and credit for their efforts as 2019 was an exceptional movie-going year, it’s hard to ignore the glaring omissions. A24, the indie studio whose made a name for championing original and bold narratives in the theatrical marketplace in a world where big budget tent poles and streamers dominate, was practically omitted entirely from the ceremony, save for a cinematography nom for “The Lighthouse” which was a nice surprise. But considering the studio was responsible for releasing the Adam Sandler critical and commercial hit “Uncut Gems” and Lulu Wang’s Sundance darling “The Farewell” the Oscars failing to recognize either, especially as other branches and guilds - Golden Globes, SAG, PGA, BFCA, NYFF, DFCS (among others) did is confounding and worrisome. In other words, they dropped the ball.

Which leads us into the extremely competitive acting fields. Last year’s crop was so lackluster, it allowed Rami Malek to walk away with Best Actor trophy for the mediocre biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” whereas this year Taron Egerton – who campaigned vigorously and won the Best Actor, comedy or musical trophy at the Globes two weeks ago – sang his heart out as Elton John in the heartfelt and sincere “Rocketman” and was left with nothing. Greta Gerwig, though scoring an Adapted Screenplay nomination for “Little Women,” was looked over in favor Todd Phillips in the Best Director category. In the history of the Oscars, only five women have ever been nominated and only one has won (Kathryn Bigalow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010). Yikes.

The only women of color who managed to crack the acting race was Cynthia Erivo for playing Harriet Tubman in “Harriet” and the actress was also given a Best Song nomination as well for the song “Rise Up” featured in the same movie. Usually, I’m not one to jump on the #OscarSoWhite Twitter bashing because over the years, I saw all the movies and genuinely believed the right folks got nominated (do you even remember Will Smith’s performance from “Concussion?”)

What people WILL remember is Eddie Murphy getting snubbed for his outstanding comeback performance in the righteous “Dolemite Is My Name” and then Lupita Nyong’o getting shafted for her duel performance in Jordan Peele’s “Us.” It’s even more annoying when you see Scarlett Johansson – a fine actress who is terrific in both “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit” – scored two nominations in Lead and Supporting Actress. You’re telling me Jennifer Lopez for “Hustlers” wasn’t deserving of one of those spots? And look, I love Leonardo DiCaprio as much as anyone, but can we let someone else in for once?

Then again, it’s all about The Academy membership and you must remember the politics of it all. But give credit where it’s due. Rian Johnson got a nod for his “Knives Out” screenplay, Bong Joon-Ho has now been introduced to a new audience courtesy of his barrier crossing “Parasite” which has given new spotlight to foreign language films everywhere. And we must recognize that out of five of the Best Documentary Features, four are directed or co-directed by women. So, there’s progress, but at what cost? There’s chatter about implementing different categories to help get underrepresented movies noticed, but that begs even more logistical and ethical viewpoints.

Yet, as we do every year, you must take award shows with a grain of salt. Because there’s always going to be snubs and surprises – (I’m still bitter “The LEGO Movie” didn’t score a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination).

As of now, there’s a heated race brewing between “Hollywood,” “Parasite,” and “1917” for the top prize (but could Netflix make history as the first streaming company to win Best Picture with “The Irishman?” Or will the sudden surge of “Joker” help push it over the finish line?) – It’ll be interesting to watch, and I’ll be tuning in with a prediction ballot in hand. At least I can sleep knowing it will never be as bad as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Below you can find all the Oscar nominees:

BEST PICTURE

"Ford v Ferrari"

"The Irishman"

"Jojo Rabbit"

"Joker"

"Little Women"

"Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"

"Marriage Story"

"Parasite"

"1917"

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Kathy Bates, "Richard Jewell"

Laura Dern, "Marriage Story"

Scarlett Johansson, "Jojo Rabbit"

Florence Pugh, "Little Women"

Margot Robbie, "Bombshell"

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Tom Hanks, "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"

Anthony Hopkins, "The Two Popes"

Al Pacino, "The Irishman"

Joe Pesci, "The Irishman"

Brad Pitt, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

South Korea, "Parasite"

Spain, "Pain and Glory"

France, "Les Misérables"

North Macedonia, "Honeyland"

Poland, "Corpus Christi"

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

"In the Absence"

"Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)"

"Life Overtakes Me"

"St. Louis Superman"

"Walk Run Cha-Cha"

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

"American Factory"

"The Edge of Democracy"

"Honeyland"

"For Sama"

"The Cave"

ORIGINAL SONG

"I'm Standing With You," "Breakthrough"

"Into the Unknown," "Frozen II"

"Stand Up," "Harriet"

"(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again," "Rocketman"

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away," "Toy Story 4"

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

"How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World"

"I Lost My Body"

"Klaus"

"Missing Link"

"Toy Story 4"

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

"The Irishman"

"Jojo Rabbit"

"Little Women"

"The Two Popes"

"Joker"

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

"Marriage Story"

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

"Parasite"

"Knives Out"

"1917"

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas, "Pain and Glory"

Leonardo DiCaprio, "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood"

Adam Driver, "Marriage Story"

Joaquin Phoenix, "Joker"

Jonathan Pryce, "The Two Popes"

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Cynthia Erivo, "Harriet"

Scarlett Johansson, "Marriage Story"

Saoirse Ronan, "Little Women"

Renée Zellweger, "Judy"

Charlize Theron, "Bombshell"

DIRECTOR

Martin Scorsese, "The Irishman"

Quentin Tarantino, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

Bong Joon-ho, "Parasite"

Sam Mendes, "1917"

Todd Phillips, "Joker"

PRODUCTION DESIGN

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

"The Irishman"

"1917"

"Jojo Rabbit"

"Parasite"

CINEMATOGRAPHY

"1917"

"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"

"The Irishman"

"Joker"

"The Lighthouse"

COSTUME DESIGN

"Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"

"Little Women"

"The Irishman"

"Jojo Rabbit"

"Joker"

SOUND EDITING

"1917"

"Ford v Ferrari"

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

"Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"

"Joker"

SOUND MIXING

"1917"

"Ford v Ferrari"

"Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood"

"Ad Astra"

"Joker"

ANIMATED SHORT FILM

"Dcera (Daughter)"

"Hair Love"

"Kitbull"

"Memorable"

"Sister"

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM

"Brotherhood"

"Nefta Football Club"

"The Neighbors' Window"

"Saria"

"A Sister"

ORIGINAL SCORE

"1917," Thomas Newman

"Joker," Hildur Guðnadóttir

"Little Women," Alexandre Desplat

"Marriage Story," Randy Newman

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," John Williams

VISUAL EFFECTS

"Avengers: Endgame"

"The Lion King"

"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker"

"The Irishman"

"1917"

FILM EDITING

"The Irishman"

"Ford v Ferrari"

"Parasite"

"Joker"

"Jojo Rabbit"

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

"Bombshell"

"Joker"

"Judy"

"Maleficent: Mistress of Evil"

"1917"