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The Most Diverse Oscar Nominations Ever: Was It The Academy Voters Or The Pandemic?

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Director Chloe Zhao collected four Academy Award nominations for "Nomadland" -- the most by any woman in a single year. (Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
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It's hard to think of many upsides to the pandemic. But Oscar voters took advantage of the shutdown to recognize on Monday an historically diverse slate of Academy Award nominees: Some categories showcased a majority of underrepresented filmmakers and performers, and for the first time two women are competing for best director.

With most movie theaters shuttered for the past 12 months, the major studios postponed most of their releases, opening the door to more diverse, independently produced films. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also abandoned one of its cardinal rules, allowing movies that debuted online to compete, benefitting an array of streaming titles with inclusive casts.

The result: Nine actors of color were nominated, an Oscar record.

In the best picture race, there was but one big studio release among the eight nominees, and it features a largely Black cast: "Judas and the Black Messiah." In the best actor category, three of the five picks are non-white, as is the case for supporting actor, too.

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In an Oscar first, two women are shortlisted for best director: Chloé Zhao for "Nomadland" (the first non-white woman ever to be nominated) and Emerald Fennell for "Promising Young Woman." Only one woman -- Kathryn Bigelow for 2008's "The Hurt Locker" -- has previously won the directing Oscar.

A total of 70 women received a combined 76 nominations, a record in a single year. Because she also wrote, produced and edited "Nomadland," Zhao collected four nominations -- the most by any woman in a single year.

All of this follows last year's ceremony, when only one non-white performer (Cynthia Erivo of "Harriet") was among the 20 lead and supporting acting nominees.

The Netflix release, "Mank," about the screenwriter behind "Citizen Kane," has the most nominations of any release, with 10.

The streaming service also earned multiple nominations for "The Trial of the Chicago 7" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." The latter film was snubbed in the best picture race, which, owing to voting consensus, included eight out of a possible maximum of 10 films.

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The best picture nominees are: "Nomadland," "Minari," "The Trial of the Chicago 7," "Promising Young Woman," "Sound of Metal," "Judas and the Black Messiah," "Mank" and "The Father."

Yet even after putting forward a diverse slate of acting nominations, Oscar voters not only snubbed the Black-led release "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," but also "One Night in Miami."

In the supporting actor category, three of the nominees are Black: Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield from "Judas and the Black Messiah," and Leslie Odom, Jr. for "One Night in Miami."

Among the lead actor picks, three of the nominees are non-white: Riz Ahmed for "Sound of Metal," the late Chadwick Boseman in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," and Steven Yeun in "Minari." Yeun is the first Asian performer nominated in the category.

For lead actress, two of the nominees are Black: Viola Davis for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and Andra Day for "The United States vs. Billie Holiday." The other nominees are Vanessa Kirby in "Pieces of a Woman," Frances McDormand for "Nomadland" and Carey Mulligan for "Promising Young Woman."

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Named for best supporting actor are Maria Bakalova for "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," Glenn Close for "Hillbilly Elegy," Olivia Colman for "The Father," Amanda Seyfried for "Mank" and Yuh-Jung Youn for "Minari."

Details about the logistics for the April 25 ceremony remain vague, but Academy President David Rubin said the show will be broadcast from both its usual venue, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Maybe rather than take limousines, the nominees can travel by Amtrak -- and hope the trains are running on time.

THE NOMINATIONS

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

RIZ AHMED: "Sound of Metal"

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CHADWICK BOSEMAN: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"

ANTHONY HOPKINS: "The Father:

GARY OLDMAN: "Mank"

STEVEN YEUN: "Minari"


ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

SACHA BARON COHEN: "The Trial of the Chicago 7"

DANIEL KALUUYA: "Judas and the Black Messiah"

LESLIE ODOM, JR.: "One Night in Miami..."

PAUL RACI: "Sound of Metal"

LAKEITH STANFIELD: "Judas and the Black Messiah"


ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

VIOLA DAVIS: "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"

ANDRA DAY: "The United States vs. Billie Holiday"

VANESSA KIRBY: "Pieces of a Woman"

FRANCES McDORMAND: "Nomadland"

CAREY MULLIGAN: "Promising Young Woman"


ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

MARIA BAKALOVA: "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"

GLENN CLOSE: "Hillbilly Elegy"

OLIVIA COLMAN: "The Father"

AMANDA SEYFRIED: "Mank"

YUH-JUNG YOUN: "Minari"


ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

"ONWARD": Dan Scanlon and Kori Rae

"OVER THE MOON": Glen Keane, Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou

"A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE: FARMAGEDDON": Richard Phelan, Will Becher and Paul Kewley

"SOUL": Pete Docter and Dana Murray

"WOLFWALKERS": Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young and Stéphan Roelants


CINEMATOGRAPHY

"JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH": Sean Bobbitt

"MANK": Erik Messerschmidt

"NEWS OF THE WORLD": Dariusz Wolski

"NOMADLAND": Joshua James Richards

"THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7": Phedon Papamichael


COSTUME DESIGN

"EMMA": Alexandra Byrne

"MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM": Ann Roth

"MANK": Trish Summerville

"MULAN": Bina Daigeler

"PINOCCHIO": Massimo Cantini Parrin


DIRECTING

"ANOTHER ROUND": Thomas Vinterberg

"MANK": David Fincher

"MINARI": Lee Isaac Chung

"NOMADLAND": Chloé Zhao

"PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN": Emerald Fennell


DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE)

"COLLECTIVE": Alexander Nanau and Bianca Oana

"CRIP CAMP": Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht and Sara Bolder

"THE MOLE AGENT": Maite Alberdi and Marcela Santibáñez

"MY OCTOPUS TEACHER": Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed and Craig Foster

"TIME": Garrett Bradley, Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn


DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

"COLETTE": Anthony Giacchino and Alice Doyard

"A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION": Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers

"DO NOT SPLIT": Anders Hammer and Charlotte Cook

"HUNGER WARD": Skye Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman

"A LOVE SONG FOR LATASHA": Sophia Nahli Allison and Janice Duncan


FILM EDITING

"THE FATHER": Yorgos Lamprinos

"NOMADLAND": Chloé Zhao

"PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN": Frédéric Thoraval

"SOUND OF METAL": Mikkel E. G. Nielsen

"THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7": Alan Baumgarten


INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

"ANOTHER ROUND": Denmark

"BETTER DAYS": Hong Kong

"COLLECTIVE": Romania

"THE MAN WHO SOLD HIS SKIN": Tunisia

"QUO VADIS, AIDA?": Bosnia and Herzegovina


MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

"EMMA": Marese Langan, Laura Allen and Claudia Stolze

"HILLBILLY ELEGY": Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney

"MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM": Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson

"MANK": Gigi Williams, Kimberley Spiteri and Colleen LaBaff

"PINOCCHIO": Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli and Francesco Pegoretti


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SCORE)

"DA 5 BLOODS": Terence Blanchard

"MANK": Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

"MINARI": Emile Mosseri

"NEWS OF THE WORLD": James Newton Howard

"SOUL": Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste


MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)

"FIGHT FOR YOU": from "Judas and the Black Messiah"; Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas

"HEAR MY VOICE": from "The Trial of the Chicago 7"; Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

"HUSAVIK": from "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga"; Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

"IO SÌ (SEEN)": from "The Life Ahead" (La Vita Davanti a Se); Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

"SPEAK NOW": from "One Night in Miami..."; Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth


BEST PICTURE

"THE FATHER": David Parfitt, Jean-Louis Livi and Philippe Carcassonne, Producers

"JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH": Shaka King, Charles D. King and Ryan Coogler, Producers

"MANK": Ceán Chaffin, Eric Roth and Douglas Urbanski, Producers

"MINARI": Christina Oh, Producer

"NOMADLAND": Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, Mollye Asher, Dan Janvey and Chloé Zhao, Producers

"PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN": Ben Browning, Ashley Fox, Emerald Fennell and Josey McNamara, Producers

"SOUND OF METAL": Bert Hamelinck and Sacha Ben Harroche, Producers

"THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7": Marc Platt and Stuart Besser, Producers


PRODUCTION DESIGN

"THE FATHER": Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

"MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM": Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara and Diana Stoughton

"MANK": Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale

"NEWS OF THE WORLD": Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

"TENET": Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas


SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

"BURROW": Madeline Sharafian and Michael Capbarat

"GENIUS LOCI": Adrien Mérigeau and Amaury Ovise

"IF ANYTHING HAPPENS I LOVE YOU": Will McCormack and Michael Govier

"OPERA": Erick Oh

"YES-PEOPLE": Gísli Darri Halldórsson and Arnar Gunnarsson


SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

"FEELING THROUGH": Doug Roland and Susan Ruzenski

"THE LETTER ROOM": Elvira Lind and Sofia Sondervan

"THE PRESENT": Farah Nabulsi

"TWO DISTANT STRANGERS": Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe

"WHITE EYE": Tomer Shushan and Shira Hochman


SOUND

"GREYHOUND": Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

"MANK": Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

"NEWS OF THE WORLD": Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

"SOUL": Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

"SOUND OF METAL": Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Blad


VISUAL EFFECTS

"LOVE AND MONSTERS": Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox

"THE MIDNIGHT SKY": Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

"MULAN": Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

"THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN": Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

"TENET": Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher


WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY)

"BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM": Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Peter Baynham & Erica Rivinoja & Dan Mazer & Jena Friedman & Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen & Anthony Hines & Dan Swimer & Nina Pedrad

"THE FATHER": Screenplay by Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller

"NOMADLAND": Written for the screen by Chloé Zhao

"ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI...": Screenplay by Kemp Powers

"THE WHITE TIGER": Written for the screen by Ramin Bahrani


WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)

"JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH": Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King; Story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas

"MINARI": Written by Lee Isaac Chung

"PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN": Written by Emerald Fennell

"SOUND OF METAL": Screenplay by Darius Marder & Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder & Derek Cianfrance

"THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7": Written by Aaron Sorkin