FEMALE filmmakers were shut out, Parasite made history and Joker just edged out The Irishman,” 1917 and Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood in Monday’s Oscar nominations.

Todd Phillips R-rated superhero smash Joker topped all films with 11 nominations, while Martin Scorseses elegiac crime epic The Irishman, Quentin Taran­tinos 1960s Los Angeles fairy tale Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood and Sam Mendes continuous World War I tale 1917 all trailed close behind with 10 nods apiece.

Those four were among the nine films nominated for best picture, in nominations to the 92nd Academy Awards. The others were: Greta Gerwig’s Louisa May Alcott adaptation Little Women, Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story, Taika Waititi’s Nazi Germany romp Jojo Rabbit, James Mangold’s racing drama Ford v Ferrari and Bong Joon Ho’s class satire Parasite the first Korean film to be nominated and only the 11th non-English best-picture nominee.

Joker, which gives the DC Comics villain an antihero spin cribbed from Scorsese, was expected to do well on Monday. But the academy’s overwhelming support for a divisive movie that was far from a critical favorite was unexpected. The film’s nominations included best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and best director for Phillips.

Though a record 62 women (or about a third of nominees) were nominated on Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences put the most weight behind a handful of swaggering male-driven and man-made movies predicated on virtuosity, spectacle and celebrity. For the 87th time, the academy selected all-male directing nominees.

Hollywood, in the midst of a streaming upheaval, also gave Netflix more nominations, 24, than ever before. The 10 nominations for The Irishman tied the most for a Netflix film, following Roma last year. Scorsese, a one-time winner for The Departed, was nominated for best director for the ninth time. The film also won nods for Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and its de-aging special effects. We put all of ourselves into this picture, said Scorsese in a statement. 1917 followed up its Golden Globes win and strong opening weekend at the box office with nominations not just for its technical achievement (including Mendes’ directing and Roger Deakins’ cinematography) but for best screenplay, too.

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood was nominated in just about every category it was expected to, including Tarantino for directing and screenplay, best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020