The Oscar nominations always throw up a few surprises and shock snubs and this year is no different.
Here are the winners and losers of the nominations that made our jaws drop and how the race is already shaping up in the run-up to the February 25 (AEDT) ceremony.
The old-guard Academy resistance to Netflix is fading fast with the streamer picking up 15 nominations, including 10 for Roma, which is tied equal first with The Favourite for most-nominated film.
Roma , a black-and-white Mexican film based on director Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood, is a strong contender for Best Picture while Cuaron’s Best Director statue is almost a lock. It also surprised people with two acting nominations, in both Leading Actress for Yalitza Aparicio and Supporting Actress for Marina de Tavira, the latter of which came out of nowhere.
Cuaron is also nominated for Cinematography, Foreign Language and Original Screenplay while the film also scored nods in Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Production Design.
After a few years of hand-wringing and fears that Netflix would disrupt the studios, it looks like the Academy has thrown the gate open and extended a big bear hug to the Silicon Valley giant.
Netflix is the most surprising winner of this year’s race so far.
LOSERS: Bradley Cooper and A Star Is Born
When A Star Is Born was released, it was considered the automatic frontrunner for the Oscars, but by not sweeping the nominations, and after its recent lacklustre awards run, it’s proving that it is quickly losing momentum.
With eight nods (out of a possible 12 or 13), it’s still a contender but Bradley Cooper missing out on a Best Director nomination is a big strike against it — films rarely win Best Picture without a corresponding nomination for the director, and it’s even less likely without an Editing nod, which A Star Is Born also didn’t get.
Cooper was gunning for that Director nomination more than Leading Actor, which he nabbed, so this one is probably going to hurt.
Lady Gaga’s easy run to an Oscar is also bumping up against surprising competition from Glenn Close for The Wife while The Favourite’s Olivia Colman is also a threat.
It could be that when all’s said and done, the only Oscar A Star Is Born will go home with is Original Song.
WINNER: Black Panther
Marvel epic Black Panther claims the distinction as the first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture, something even The Dark Knight couldn’t pull off.
Now there really is no reason for the still-mooted Best Popular Picture Oscar category if something like Black Panther with its $US1.3 billion ($A1.8 billion) box office can break through.
The cultural watershed movie came away with seven nominations which also included Original Score, Original Song, Costume Design, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
LOSERS: First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk
First Man and If Beale Street Could Talk were supposed to set up a rerun of the friendly rivalry between its directors Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins, who faced off two years ago with La La Land and Moonlight.
However both movies ended up being largely snubbed by the Academy despite being critical favourites.
First Man was acknowledged for its technical marvel with four nods below the line for Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Visual Effects and Production.
But the expected nomination for composer Justin Hurwitz in Original Score didn’t eventuate even though he’d been recognised for his incredible work by other awards bodies.
Even more shocking is Claire Foy being left off in Supporting Actress for her considered and powerful performance as Neil Armstrong’s wife Janet.
Beale Street managed only three nods including Supporting Actress for Regina King and Adapted Screenplay for Jenkins, but it was expected to have a much stronger showing.
It could be worse though — it could’ve been Steve McQueen’s Widows which picked up a total of zero nominations.
WINNER: Spike Lee
With his storied career, it’s shocking Spike Lee has never being nominated in the Best Director category before but the always challenging auteur has finally landed, for BlacKkKlansman.
In its 91-year history, Lee is also only the sixth African-American person to be nominated in Director, preceded by Jordan Peele, Barry Jenkins, Steve McQueen, Lee Daniels and John Singleton (four of those five were in the last 10 years).
Lee could be a sentimental favourite to win and his strongest competition, Alfonso Cuaron, has already won in this category for Gravity not long ago.
BlacKkKlansman , a chilling albeit darkly funny portrait of racism in America, picked up six nominations in total and will be an enticing choice for Oscar voters looking to back a movie that taps into the rage of American race relations at the moment.
It’s also one of only three movies in the Best Picture race that is also nominated in important categories Director, Editing and Screenplay, indicating its strength. The other two are The Favourite and Vice.
However, John David Washington’s performance was snubbed in the Leading Actor category.
LOSER: Emily Blunt
Blunt has consistently done great work and has never been recognised by the Academy and this was its chance to make up for that. Shame that it chose not to.
WINNER: Foreign language movies
Foreign language movies made a strong showing on the nominations list with not just Roma’s 10 nods but also a string of others breaking into categories beyond Foreign Language.
In the Cinematography category, three out of the five nominations are foreign language films with Roma, Polish film Cold War and German film Never Look Away — all the more impressive when you consider Roma and Cold War are black and white.
Pawel Pawlikowski, who wrote the love story Cold War based on his parents’ relationship, also picked up a Best Director nomination, likely at the expense of Bradley Cooper.
Swedish film Border also made it into Makeup and Hair.
Perhaps the Academy’s rejuvenated voting body, which includes more foreign artists as well as a younger and more diverse group, is already having an effect.
However, acclaimed Korean movie Burning, which hasn’t been released in Australia yet but played the festival circuit last year, was a surprising snub in Foreign Language.
LOSERS: Female directors
Female directors were locked out this year, with all five berths going to men despite strong contenders in Marielle Heller for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Debra Granik for Leave No Trace and Lynne Ramsey for You Were Never Really Here.
WINNER: The Favourite
The Favourite tied Roma as equal first in nabbing the most nominations, and while it was expected to do well, few would have predicted just how well it would fare.
Off-kilter, cutting and funny, The Favourite picked up nominations for its three stars — Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz — as well as Best Picture, Director for Yorgos Lanthimos, Editing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design and Costume Design nods.
But despite co-leading the nominations, it may be that The Favourite is running second or third in its individual categories and won’t pick up that many wins on the night.
As Australians, we’re obliged to be upset when our stars don’t get up, especially when the likes of Nicole Kidman (Destroyer and Boy Erased), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Margot Robbie (Mary Queen Of Scots) and Troye Sivan have been hovering at the edges of the Oscar buzz.
Sivan was probably the biggest snub with his song for Boy Erased expected to nab a nom but ended up being pushed out for the surprise inclusion of The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs.
While not Australian — but we do love to claim successful Kiwis — teenage New Zealand actor Thomasin McKenzie was considered an outside chance for Leave No Trace but she ultimately wasn’t nominated.
On the plus side, Aussies Tony McNamara (co-screenwriter) and Fiona Crombie (costume designer) were both recognised with nominations for their work on The Favourite.
LOSER: Eighth Grade
There was a lot of hope that Bo Burnham would squeeze into Original Screenplay for his debut feature Eighth Grade, a raw and thoughtful movie about teenage social anxiety, centred on a stunning performance by young Elsie Fisher.
Instead, the Academy nominated the problematic Green Book, written by one man who admitted to flashing his penis hundreds of times and another who previously said he saw Muslims cheering when the Twin Towers collapsed in the 9/11 attacks. They’ve both since apologised.
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