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The Academy announced the nominations for Oscars 2020 yesterday, and as widely predicted Todd Phillips’Joker sauntered away with the maximum number of nominations—a total of 11, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Joaquin Phoenix (L) and Todd Phillips (R). Image: Courtesy Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The dark comic book tale, a bleak, arthouse origin story about Batman’s nemesis starring Joaquin Phoenix, was just ahead of three films. Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s Tinseltown homage ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’, Sam Mendes’s World War I odyssey ‘1917’, and Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’ each earned 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Director.

Women and ethnic minorities were largely shut out once again. “Congratulations to those men,” actress and writer Issa Rae, co-host of the official Oscars nominations announcement, said pointedly as she presented the Academy’s picks.

And in an industry criticised for its lack of diversity, the Oscars picked only one non-white acting nominee — British star Cynthia Erivo, who plays US anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman in Harriet. Industry website Deadline Hollywood called Monday’s nominations “basically #OscarsSoWhite Part 2 #OscarsSoWhiterAndWithMoreMen,” referring to a hashtag begun in 2015 in response to the lack of diverse nominees.

Here are five facts to note from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ announcement:

Scarlett, Saoirse make history

oscar nominations 2020
Scarlett Johansson. Image: Courtesy Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Female directors may have been shut out, but two actresses had particular reason to celebrate. Scarlett Johansson had never been nominated for an Oscar before, but picked up two nods on the same morning. She will compete in the Best Actress slot for her starring role in divorce drama ‘Marriage Story’, and for supporting actress as a young mother who hides a Jewish girl in her attic during World War II in ‘Jojo Rabbit’.
Meanwhile, Saoirse Ronan picked up an astonishing fourth Oscar nomination at the age of 25. She is the second-youngest woman to achieve the feat, after Jennifer Lawrence.

Netflix breaks through

It has been a bumpy award season so far for Netflix. After leading the Golden Globes nominations by a huge margin, the streaming giant walked away with just two awards — one for Laura Dern in ‘Marriage Story’, and another for Olivia Colman in television’s ‘The Crown’. Nonetheless Netflix — which has spent billions to lure the industry’s top filmmaking talent and fund lavish awards season campaigns — bagged an impressive 24 Oscar nominations Monday.

South Korean record

oscar nominations 2020
Director Bong Joon Ho. Image: Courtesy Vincent Sandoval/Getty Images

‘Parasite’, the critical smash hit from Bong Joon-ho, becomes the first South Korean film to be nominated for both best foreign-language film and best picture. It is the sixth non-English language film to achieve the historic double, following from last year’s ‘Roma’.
None of those previous five have managed to win Best Picture, however. Can Bong’s black comedy about class division do so? At the Globes, the director called on audiences to “overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles.” Pundits will be watching closely to see if Academy voters take heed.

Williams eyes Walt’s record

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ did not fare well with the critics, but another nomination for legendary composer John Williams’s score was always a safe bet. And he succeeded on Monday in earning his 52nd Oscars nod — edging him closer to Walt Disney’s individual record of 59 nominations. The film itself, which concluded the decades-spanning ‘Skywalker Saga’, bagged two other nominations, for sound editing and visual effects.

J-Lo, De Niro snubbed

Jennifer Lopez Coach
Jennifer Lopez

Two of the biggest stars expected to land acting nominations were overlooked. Jennifer Lopez has never received an Oscar nod before, but her performance as a wily stripper in ‘Hustlers’ generated significant awards buzz. Nonetheless, she missed out, as did double-Oscar winner Robert De Niro, who last won for 1980’s ‘Raging Bull’ and has failed to convert three nominations since. He had to settle for a co-producer nomination in the Best Picture category.

This article was published via AFP Relaxnews.