‘Mank’ leads Oscar nominations in a year of record diversity

This image released by Netflix shows , from left, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Ben Shenkman, Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne and Alex Sharp in a scene from "The Trial of the Chicago 7." (Niko Tavernise/Netflix via AP)
FILE - Chloe Zhao poses for a portrait to promote her film "Nomadland" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP, File)
In this image released by Netflix, actor Gary Oldman, left, appears with director and David Fincher on the set of "Mank." (Netflix via AP)
This image released by Netflix shows Michael Potts, from left, Chadwick Boseman and Colman Domingo in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom." (David Lee/Netflix via AP)

In a year in which the pandemic shuttered movie theatres for months, Academy Awards nominations went to two female filmmakers for the first time and a historically diverse slate of actors Monday but, ultimately, David Fincher’s “Mank” — a very traditional contender about Hollywood itself — took the lead.

Fincher’s “Mank,” a black-and-white, period drama about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, easily topped nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards — delayed two months by the coronavirus pandemic — with 10 nominations, including best picture, best director, acting nods for Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and a host of others for its lavish craft.

The other nominations were spread among a wide variety of contenders. Six each were scored by six films, all of which are also up for best picture: “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Sound of Metal,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “The Father.” Also nominated for best picture was Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman.”

History was made in the best director category. Only five women have ever been nominated before. For the first time, two were this year. Chloé Zhoe got a nod for her elegiac road-trip drama “Nomadland” alongside first-time feature filmmaker Fennell for her pitch black #MeToo revenge comedy. “Never going to stop crying,” Fennell, also nominated for best screenplay, said on Twitter.

Zhao, the first Asian woman nominated for best director, is the most nominated woman in a single year in Oscar history. She was also tipped for the film’s adapted screenplay, editing and as a producer in the best picture category. The other directing nominees were Lee Isaac Chung for the tender family drama “Minari,” Fincher for “Mank” and Thomas Vinterberg for his heavy-drinking Danish tragicomedy “Another Round.”

For performers, it’s the most diverse group of nominees ever — and a far cry from the all-white acting nods that spawned the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag five years ago. Nine of the 20 acting nominees are people of colour, including a posthumous best-actor nomination for Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), as well as nods for Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Steven Yeun (“Minari”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Andra Day (“The People vs. Billie Holiday”) and supporting nominations for Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) and Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”).

Davis, who won for her performance in 2016’s “Fences,” landed her fourth Oscar nomination, making her the most nominated Black actress ever. Yeun is the first Asian American ever nominated for best actor. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Shaka King’s powerful Black Panther drama, is the first best-picture nominee with an all-Black producing team: King along with Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King. Overall, a record 70 women were nominated for 76 Oscars, the academy said.

The other nominees for best actress are: Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”); Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”); Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”). The remaining nominee for best actor is Anthony Hopkins for the dementia drama “The Father.”

With moviegoing nearly snuffed out by the coronavirus, the best-picture nominees had hardly any box office to speak of. For the first time, Hollywood’s biggest and most sough-after awards belong to movies that were almost entirely seen at home.

“We learned a lot of hard lessons last year, but a nice one was that people will find a way to go to the movies, even if they can only go as far as their living rooms,” Aaron Sorkin, writer and director of “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” said in a statement.

Netflix, as expected, led all studios with 35 nominations. The streaming service is still gunning for its first best-picture winner, and this year has two shots in “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” — a movie Paramount Pictures sold off during the pandemic. Netflix led last year, too, with 24 nominations, but came away with just two wins.

Other streamers were in the mix. Amazon, in particular, was well represented with “Sound of Metal,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “One Night in Miami” — leading to 12 nominations overall. Both Apple TV+ (“Wolfwalkers,” “Greyhound”) and Disney+ (“Soul,” “Onward”) landed their first nominations. The film that tried to lead a box-office revival — Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” — walked away with nominations for production design and visual effects.

The nominations were announced from London by presenters Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The Academy Awards would typically have happened by now but this year will be telecast April 25. The film academy confirmed Monday that the show will be held at both its usual home in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and the city’s railway hub, Union Station.

This year’s awards season — typically a monthslong circuit of screenings, cocktail parties and schmoozing — has been entirely virtual, taking much of the buzz and predictability out of the Oscars. Eligibility was extended to early 2021 releases and to movies that bypassed theatres.

“In our industry there is nothing more traditional than the Academy Awards, which hopefully sends a sign of hope that we will get out of this,” Oldman said in a statement. “The Oscars are such a sign that normalcy still exists.”

Among the films that had hoped for a better result Monday was Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” — which was nominated only for its score. Just eight out of a possible 10 movies were nominated for best picture, leaving out “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” and Golden Globe winner “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

Despite the best-picture snub for “Borat,” Sacha Baron Cohen, who created the title character, was still a nominee for his supporting role as activist Abbie Hoffman in “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and “Borat” star Maria Bakalova was nominated for best supporting actress. Also nominated in the category: Glenn Close for “Hillbilly Elegy” and Olivia Colman for “The Father.”

The most competitive category might have been documentary, where “Collective,” “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution,” “The Mole Agent,” My Octopus Teacher” and “Time” ultimately landed nominations. “Collective,” the Romanian documentary about investigative journalism and government corruption, became just the second film nominated for both best documentary and best international film. The other international film nominees were “Quo Vadis, Aida?,” Bosnia and Herzegovina; “Another Round,” Denmark; “Better Days,” Hong Kong; and “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” Tunisia.

The nominees for best animated feature: “Onward”; “Over the Moon”; “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”; “Soul”; “Wolfwalkers.”

The film academy and ABC will hope that the nominees can drum up more excitement than they have elsewhere. Interest in little golden statuettes has nosedived during the pandemic. Ratings for a largely virtual Golden Globes plunged to 6.9 million viewers — a 64% drop from 2020 — last month. Though on Sunday the Grammys managed to break through the Zoom trap.

With the notable exception of fueling streaming subscriber growth, the pandemic has been punishing for the movie industry. Production slowed to a crawl, blockbusters were postponed or detoured to streaming and thousands have been laid off or furloughed.

But the outlook for Hollywood has recently brightened as coronavirus cases have slid and vaccines have ramped up. Movie theatres are reopening in the U.S.’s two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles. And several larger movies — including the Walt Disney Co.’s “Black Widow” (May 7) — are scheduled for May and beyond.

___

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

Movies and TV

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson Road Maintenance crews have been working on road base failures on Highway 20. (Dawson Road Maintenance Facebook photo)
ROAD REPORT: Dawson Road Maintenance provides update on Cariboo Chilcotin road conditions

Road bases still soft, saturated at multiple locations in Cariboo Chilcotin due to spring freshet

The Central Coast snowpack is now sitting at 146 percent (Felicia Harris photo)
Central Coast snowpack now 46 per cent above normal

The risk of spring flooding is elevated due to the above normal snowpack across the entire province

Residents line up socially distanced at the Seedy Saturday event, held at the Lobelco Hall parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 3 with strict COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in place. (Nicole Kaechele photo)
Seedlings, plants and seeds offered at Seedy Saturday

“It was a fairly good turnout,” noted Elizabeth Howard

The Bella Coola Valley Arts Council (BCVAC) has recently received two awards totaling $40,000 from the province-wide British Columbia Arts Council, part of the StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The grants are to be used to stimulate local arts communities and to help them cope with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)
Bella Coola Valley Arts Council receives $40,000 for local projects

The grants will be used to stimulte local arts communities and help them cope with the pandemic

Nuxalk Sputc Crew technician Scmlh (Jason Moody) walks in Bella Coola River towards sputc holding tank with cinematographer Louvens Remy (photo submitted)
Documentary to highlight importance of sputc for Nuxalk Nation

Sputc: We Shall Eat When the River is Full is a cinematic tale of wealth, loss and recovery

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

Most Read