Two female directors, Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell, are competing for the best director award at this year’s Oscars; the first time more than one woman has competed for the award.
Only five women have competed for the award; only one, Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010, has won.
British filmmaker Fennell, perhaps best known for her acting work as Camilla Parker Bowles on Netflix’s The Crown, is up for her first feature film, the rape revenge comedy Promising Young Woman. Also running for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Leading Actress, for Carey Mulligan.
Meanwhile, Zhao enters the race for director and lead, with Nomadland, an elegiac drama about the lives on the road of disenfranchised older Americans starring Frances McDormand, victorious at a series of previous award ceremonies.
Also for best director are Thomas Vinterberg (for Another Round), David Fincher (for Mank) and Lee Isaac Chung (for Minari).
Mank, a black and white look at the behind-the-scenes dramas surrounding the writing of Citizen Kane, starring Gary Oldman as screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz, leads the nomination marker this year by some distance.
She is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Original Screenplay, Lead Actor and Supporting Actress (for Amanda Seyfried), Costume Design, Production Design, Music, Cinematography, and Makeup.
However, the film, one of a substantial number of nominees distributed by Netflix, is also one of the few major players who has not made progress in the Academy’s efforts to promote inclusion over the past year.
Nine of the nominees to act are people of color, up from one (Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo) in 2020. Riz Ahmed (for The Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari) and Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) are join Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. (for The Father) in the career of best actor. This is the first year that Asian actors have appeared in the lead category.
Boseman, who died of cancer at age 43 last August, is one of seven actors to have garnered Oscar nominations after his death. Heath Ledger and Peter Finch are the only actors to have won posthumous Oscars.
Boseman’s Ma Rainey co-stars Viola Davis and Andra Day (for The United States V Billie Holiday) will compete against Vanessa Kirby (for Pieces of a Woman), Mulligan and McDormand for best actress. But there was no room for Rosamund Pike, who won the award for best actress in a comedy or musical at the Golden Globes.
Newcomer Maria Bakalova is up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, while the screenplay is up for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Sacha Baron Cohen missed a lead actor nod for that movie, but earned a supporting actor nomination for his role as Abbie Hoffman in Chicago’s Trial of the Seven.
Aaron Sorkin’s judicial thriller about the countercultural protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention received six nominations Monday, as did The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland and Sound of Metal.
Collective, Another Round and Quo Vadis Aida? lead the field in the category of best international film; the first, on the astonishing medical corruption in Romania, is also nominated for best documentary, along with Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher and Time.
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon was a surprise nominee in the category of best animated film; compete against the Soul leader.
The Guardian short film Colette, about a 90-year veteran of the French Resistance, is nominated for best documentary short film.
Notable snubs include The Mauritanian, Kevin Macdonald’s legal drama about Mohamedou Ould Slahi, falsely incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, which won best supporting actress for Jodie Foster at the Golden Globes. That film was not nominated. in any category.
Some have also highlighted a curious discrepancy in the lack of recognition given to black directors, despite the fact that their films are nominated for best picture and multiple acting awards.
Neither Shaka King (for Judas and the Black Messiah), Regina King (One Night in Miami), George C Wolfe (Ma Rainey) or Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) were nominated. Delroy Lindo’s omission from the lead actor category for this latest film was also perceived as an oversight.
At last year’s Oscars, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite took home Best Picture, as well as Best Director, Original Screenplay, and International Feature Film. Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for Joker and Renée Zellweger for Best Actress for Judy, while Laura Dern and Brad Pitt took supporting awards for Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time in America.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in june that he was delaying all Oscars events in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligibility for the awards has been radically relaxed this year.
David Rubin, the current president of the Academy, revealed that this year’s ceremony will take place on April 25 at Union Station in Los Angeles, as well as at the Dolby Theater. As with last year’s Oscars, there will not be a single host, but a rotation of presenters.
This announcement follows Sunday night’s well-received Grammy Awards, which unfolded in a relatively traditional way with a socially estranged ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
The Globes hybrid event, by contrast, saw co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on opposite sides of the US It was beset by technical difficulties, with multiple delays and misunderstandings and some winners were cut off mid-speech.
That event saw Nomadland take on best drama and Zhao became the first Asian woman to win the best director award, as well as the second woman to do so (after Barbra Streisand in 1983 for Yentl).
Nomadland was also, along with British drama Rocks, the scorecard winner in last week’s Bafta nominations, the first in a series of sweeping changes to the voting process for greater inclusion.
For those awards, Nomadland has seven nominations, and Zhao is one of four women in the race for best director. Sixteen of the nominees to perform at this year’s Baftas are people of color (exactly two-thirds of the total). In 2020 there were none.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism