If you were up this morning glued to the television set, YouTube or Twitter, you may have caught Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross announce this year’s Academy Award nominations. With light banter of waking up early and pronouncing names correctly, the duo quickly made some movie studios’ day or disappointed others. We at Take 2 were up this morning with them, although Rebecca Kivak and I are second-shift editors, and live-tweeting along other Oscar pundits and movie fans.
Leading the class of nominees were “The Favourite” and “Roma” ties with 10 nominations, including best picture for both. As always, there were a few surprises and snubs this year, with many critic and audience favorites being short-changed or others riding the wave of the film’s popularity among Academy members. Here is my breakdown of today’s announcement:
A big day for Netflix, Marvel
Ten years ago, Netflix was best known for delivering DVDs and some streaming titles to everyday households. Marvel was only beginning its Phase 1 of its newly created cinematic universe with “The Incredible Hulk” and the success of “Iron Man.” This morning, both studios achieved feats they hadn’t made before and seemed impossible in 2009. They both have best picture nominees – “Roma” for Netflix and “Black Panther” for Marvel. After years of earning nominations for documentaries, shorts, and one feature film, “Mudbound,” the entertainment studio grabbed several above-the-line mentions. These include best actress for Yalitza Aparicio, supporting actress for Marina de Tavira, and director, screenplay and cinematography for Alfonso Cuarón. Aparicio is only the second woman to be nominated for best actress for a debut performance.
“Black Panther” is the first superhero movie to be nominated for best picture. It received six other nominations, including best costume design for Ruth E. Carter and production design for Hannah Beachler, the first black woman to be nominated in this category. However, it did not receive any acting, directing or writing recognition.
It’s for the moviegoers
Three best picture nominees earned more than $200 million at the domestic box office: “Black Panther” at $700.1 million, “A Star is Born” at $204.8 million and “Bohemian Rhapsody” at $202.4 million as of today, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s a total of $1.3 billion. To put this in perspective, last year’s field of nominees had only two movie to make over $200 million, but that would be their global totals by the time of the Oscars: “Dunkirk” at $525.6 million and “Get Out” at $255 million, according to Forbes. And only three films – “Roma,” “Green Book” and “The Favourite” – had limited releases and later expanded (in the case of “Roma,” released on a streaming platform). This is one of the few years in which audiences have access to all the movies up for the top honor.
And it’s also not
However, in a weird turn of events, the document feature category had more surprises than any other. The Fred Rogers feature, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, and the adoption documentary “Three Identical Strangers,” were box-office gems for the medium, but neither were nominated. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” had won a slew of awards across the season, but not getting a nomination draws comparisons to the “Hoop Dreams” snub in this category in 1995.
Bradley Cooper, who is nominated for producer, writer and actor for “A Star is Born,” is not nominated for directing.
Other surprises and snubs
Willem Dafoe, Sam Rockwell and the women of “Roma” received nominations after many organizations and shows forgot about their performances. The supporting actor category is notorious for having actors that ride on the coattails of a contender, with Rockwell being this year’s example for his George W. Bush role in “Vice.” Dafoe, who won the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival in September, returns to the Oscars with his role as artist Vincent Van Gogh.
Emily Blunt is once again snubbed in the best actress and supporting actress categories for “Mary Poppins Returns” and “A Quiet Place,” respectively. “A Quiet Place” had good chances of scoring nods for best picture, writing and directing for her husband and former star of “The Office” John Krasinki, but it only scored for sound editing.
Ethan Hawke, a critic favorite (including this one) for his role in “First Reformed,” and Timothée Chalamet, whose role in “Beautiful Boy” was up for several awards, did not make the cut. Also snubbed were John David Washington for “BlacKkKlansman,” Toni Collette for “Hereditary,” Regina Hall for “Support the Girls” and Margot Robbie for “Mary Queen of Scots.”
“Mission Impossible: Fallout” was probably my favorite for sound mixing and sound editing, but it was not nominated in either category. “Avengers: Infinity War” was limited to visual effects, but it is not competing against any fellow Marvel titles.
“Cold War,” a Polish romance film, received two nominations beyond best foreign language fim: cinematography (which was previously detailed during the Award Chase) and director for Pawel Pawlikowski.
In fact, only two of the best director nominees are American: Adam McKay for “Vice” and Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman.” In fact, it’s hard to believe that this is Lee’s first (!) Oscar nomination for best director, and this comes after receiving an honorary Oscar three years ago. If he wins, Lee will join Paul Newman, Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin and composer Ennio Morricone for winning a competitive Oscar after receiving an honorary statuette.
On Sunday, the Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held, and that may shape up the acting race. Other guilds will follow in the coming weeks.
As for Take 2, Wednesday is the start of Road to Gold with a look at how you can see some of this year’s nominees either through the theaters, streaming or other means.