The 2020 Oscar Nominations Are Basically An #OscarsSoWhite Sequel
Hollywood loves sequels, remakes and spinoffs, and the industry's obsession over the same thing in a different package revealed itself in embarrassing fashion with Monday's Academy Award nominations, where no women were selected for directing and only one person of color was among the 20 acting nominees.
Following one of the strongest years for female filmmakers in recent memory, Oscar voters failed to nominate Little Women's Greta Gerwig — or any other woman — for directing, and the sole non-white actor up for a trophy is Cynthia Erivo, who played the abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Harriet.
Overall, the nominations for the 92nd Oscars favored a variety of older white men — like directors Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino — while largely ignoring some of the most acclaimed and diverse productions, such as the American-Chinese comedy The Farewell, which was neither nominated for best picture nor for any of its actors, including star Awkwafina.
The film with the most Oscar selections at 11 was Joker, which was directed by Todd Phillips and starred Joaquin Phoenix, who was nominated for best actor. The next three top films, all with 10 nominations each, also were made by and starred white men: Scorsese's The Irishman, Tarantino's Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood and Sam Mendes' 1917.
Following a 2012 report in the Los Angeles Times showing that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences looked like a 1950s country club (94% Caucasian, median age 62, 77% male), and several years of nominees and winners so monochromatic the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite became fitting, the Academy aggressively expanded its membership to include hundreds of younger voters from more diverse backgrounds.
But the impact of that demographic shift is largely invisible in this year's Academy Award shortlist, outside of strong support for the Korean class warfare drama, Parasite, which was nominated for best picture and director Bong Joon Ho.
Tellingly, not a single member of the cast of Parasite or The Farewell was named in any acting category, even though many Oscar prognosticators had guessed several would be. Among the other non-white actors who were expected to — but ultimately did not receive — a nomination: Jennifer Lopez from Hustlers, Jamie Foxx from Just Mercy, and Lupita Nyong'o from Jordan Peele's Us. Even Beyoncé was left out of the Oscars for the song, "Spirit," from The Lion King.
The nine best picture selections (there can be as many as 10) were The Irishman, Ford v Ferrari, JoJo Rabbit, Joker, Little Women, Marriage Story, 1917, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood and Parasite. If it wins the best picture award, Parasite will become the first foreign language movie to do so.
Netflix continued to build its influence in Hollywood with 24 nominations, including best picture nominees The Irishman (10) and Marriage Story (six), and even a best documentary feature nomination for American Factory, from Barack and Michelle Obama's production company.
The Oscars will be presented Feb. 9.