Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies and Gary Oldman in David Finchers Mank, which topped the Oscar nominations on Monday. Hide Netflix subtitles
Hollywood loves a movie about Hollywood, so it’s no surprise that the Monday morning Oscar nominations were led by Mank, director David Fincher’s story about writing Citizen Kane. There were 10 nominations: best picture, actor (Gary Oldman), supporting actress (Amanda Seyfried), director, camera, costume design, make-up, sound, production design and score.
Including Mank, there are a total of eight of the best picture candidates: The Trial of Chicago 7, Minari, The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nomadland and Sound of Metal, all of which had a total of six nominations; and promising young woman who had five. (See the whole The list of nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards here.)
And there are certainly first among the top films. It’s the first year that two women – Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman – have been nominated for Best Director. Zhao is the first woman in color and the first woman to have four nominations in a year. (Her other nominations are for writing, editing, and producing the film.) Steven Yeun in Minari is the first Asian-American actor, and Riz Ahmed, the first actor with Pakistani heritage to be nominated for lead role.
Many expect the leading actor’s Oscar to be awarded posthumously to Chadwick Boseman, who died in August for his final film role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Viola Davis was also nominated for her work in this film. The category of the best actors is rounded off by Anthony Hopkins, who plays a man in the unusually structured film The Father who deals with the onset of dementia. (Note: Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield were both nominated for Judas and the Black Messiah in the Supporting Actor category.)
In the lead actress race, Davis meets Andra Day in the US against Billie Holiday, Frances McDormand in Nomadland, Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.
Other nominations are certainly more conventional, like the recognition of the somewhat dutiful The Trial of the Chicago 7, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, for which Sacha Baron Cohen was nominated for its portrayal of Abbie Hoffman. (Big Men, Check. Historical Characters, Check. Courtroom Drama, Check.) Glenn Close was nominated for her heavily disguised work on the poorly-reviewed Hillbilly Elegy, which perhaps tellingly received her only other nomination for makeup.
As every year, this group of nominees has many joys: The strong performance for Minari – including nominations for starring Steven Yeun, supporting actress Yuh-jung Youn, and director Lee Isaac Chung – follows their disappointing and somewhat confusing move into the foreign language film category the Golden Globes. (It’s an American-made and American-based film.) The academy doesn’t often recognize a purely comedic – especially an extravagantly silly – performance in the acting categories, but Maria Bakalova picked up a nomination for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And it’s nice to see a nomination for Wolfwalker, an animated feature unrelated to the style of Pixar or Disney that can be seen on Apple TV + and just waiting to be seen.
But as always, there are nominations that were expected or hoped that they didn’t get through. Probably no one is better known this year than Delroy Lindo, who was absent for his work on Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. Regina King, who made her directorial debut with One Night In Miami, was not nominated, and the film missed the best picture, despite Leslie Odom Jr. being nominated as a supporting actress for Sam Cooke.
Another premiere that likely sets the tone for the awards is directly related to the pandemic that has closed cinemas in many locations for much of 2020: it’s the first year that most of the top nominees and most of the other major nominees are also nominated. were available at home for at least some time prior to nominations. The only exception in the Best Pics category is The Father, with nominee Anthony Hopkins, which won’t be streaming on March 26th – long before the April 25th ceremony. It is possible that by Oscar night many more people than ever before will have seen all (or almost all) of the nominees, at least in the feature categories.
Whether you like these nods or not, you are probably in a better position to have strong opinions than you have been in years. How satisfied you will be with the results remains to be seen.