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‘Joker’ tops this year’s Oscar nominations, with ‘1917,’ ‘Irishman,’ ‘Once Upon a Time’ close behind

By JOSH ROTTENBERG • Jan 13, 2020 at 4:46 PM

LOS ANGELES — An awards season that had been short on clarity and long on surprises came into focus Monday morning as the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced, with nine films representing a wide range of genres earning best picture nods and the dark comic-book smash “Joker” leading the field with 11 nominations.

Following closely behind with 10 nominations apiece, including best picture, are the World War I epic “1917,” Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s fantasia “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic “The Irishman.” Along with “Joker,” the other nominees for best picture are “Ford v Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story” and “Parasite,” the latter of which became the first South Korean film to earn a nod for the academy’s top prize.

Nominees for director are Scorsese, Todd Phillips (“Joker”), Sam Mendes (“1917”), Tarantino and Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”). It was a shutout for female directors, with potential nominees including Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) and Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) failing to make the cut.

In the fiercely competitive lead actor category, Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) and Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”) all scored nominations.

Nominees for lead actress are Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”), Soairse Ronan (“Little Women”), Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”) and Renée Zellweger (“Judy”).

The supporting actress nominees are Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”), Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”), Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”), Florence Pugh (“Little Women”) and Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”). In one of the morning’s notable snubs, Jennifer Lopez, who had been considered a strong contender for her performance in “Hustlers,” failed to earn a nod.

Johansson’s nominations for lead and supporting actress, which are her first Oscar nominations, make her only the 12th performer to earn double nominations for acting in a single year. (The last performer to achieve it was Cate Blanchett in 2007.)

The supporting actor nominees are Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”), Al Pacino (“The Irishman”), Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time”).

On the diversity front, the academy narrowly avoided a reprise of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that had dogged it in recent years. But only by a single nomination. With Lopez left off the list, along with such other contenders as “The Farewell” star Awkwafina and “Us” star Lupita Nyong’o and “Just Mercy” supporting actor Jamie Foxx, Erivo was the only person of color among this year’s acting nominees.

Netflix made a strong showing with 24 nominations, the most of any studio. But although the streaming giant has made steady gains in its pursuit of Oscar glory — last year it earned 15 nominations, and in 2018 it earned eight — it remains to be seen whether it can go the distance and take home the best picture trophy it has long coveted. At this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix managed to convert its 17 film nominations into just a single win.

Nominees for international feature are “Corpus Christi” (Poland), “Honeyland” (North Macedonia), “Les Misérables” (France), “Pain and Glory” (Spain) and “Parasite” (South Korea). Mati Diop’s supernatural romance “Atlantics,” which Netflix acquired for release out of the Cannes Film Festival, was among the most notable snubs after it cracked the category’s 10-film shortlist of potential nominees.

On the nonfiction side, the nominees for documentary feature are “American Factory,” “The Cave,” “The Edge of Democracy,” “For Sama” and “Honeyland.” The academy’s documentary branch has a well-documented history of snubbing commercial successes, and this year’s box office hit “Apollo 11” — like last year’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” — failed to earn a nod.

The animation category delivered another unexpected snub, with the juggernaut sequel “Frozen 2,” which recently became the highest-grossing animated film of all time worldwide, failing to earn a nomination. The nominees are “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “I Lost My Body,” “Klaus,” “Missing Link” and “Toy Story 4.”

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