‘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

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A police officer aims a radar gun at oncoming traffic during a school-zone speed trap traffic blitz outside Peace Arch Elementary in 2017. (File photo)
White Rock council heeds residents’ plea for better speed signage

Roper Avenue concerns note proximity of two elementary schools

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

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

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read