'Black Panther' & Netflix make history as 2019 Oscar nominees announced

Which movies racked up the most Academy Award nominations this year?

22 January 2019 - 17:49 By AFP Relaxnews
Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther'. The film is the first superhero flick to ever be nominated in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards.
Chadwick Boseman in 'Black Panther'. The film is the first superhero flick to ever be nominated in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards.
Image: Marvel Studios 2018

The 2019 Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday in the pre-dawn hours in Hollywood by actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Kumail Nanjiani.

Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, an ode to his childhood in 1970s Mexico City, and offbeat royal romp The Favourite lead the pack with a whopping 10 Oscar nominations each.

Popular musical romance A Star Is Born and Dick Cheney biopic Vice finished with eight nominations each, while superhero blockbuster Black Panther finished with seven.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

The sweeping success of Roma is history-making for streaming giant Netflix, marking its first nomination for best picture, and also first in other top categories like best director and best actress.

The black and white film snatched up nods for best supporting actress, best foreign film and a swirl of other nominations.

But The Favourite scored a bit of a surprise with its stellar haul. While nominations for its trio of stars — Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz — were a near-lock, its flight to the top of the list was not.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos also got a nod in the Best Director Category.

A Star Is Born, the latest iteration of the classic musical romance, scored in most big categories, with nominations for three of the four acting prizes — Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and their co-star Sam Elliott.

Surprisingly, Cooper was denied a nod for his directing debut, despite earning nominations at the Golden Globes and from the Directors Guild.

In all, there are eight films vying for best picture:

  • Roma;
  • The Favourite;
  • A Star Is Born;
  • Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman;
  • Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody;
  • Satirical Dick Cheney biopic Vice;
  • Civil rights dramedy Green Book; and
  • Black Panther.

Black Panther also made a bit of history, as the first superhero flick ever nominated in the category.

Green Book earned five Oscar nominations and moved up in the Academy Award conversation at the weekend when it won best film at the Producers Guild of America awards.

Twenty times out of 29, the PGA award winner has gone on to take the best picture Oscar, including The Shape of Water last year.

CONTROVERSY

Last year, the awards season was marked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and the birth of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements against sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace.

This year, multiple controversies are plaguing the Oscars — none of them related to last year's bombshell.

In August, the Academy — under fire for being too elitist — announced it would add a "best popular film" award. But many saw the new category as a booby prize for blockbusters like Black Panther that would keep them out of contention for top honors.

The plan was scrapped a month later.

Then actor-comedian Kevin Hart had perhaps the briefest tenure ever as Oscars host — a few days. He withdrew after homophobic tweets he had written years ago sparked a crippling backlash on social media.

By all accounts, with many stars reportedly unwilling to grasp the poisoned chalice, the Academy has opted to go forward without a host.

Of course, on Oscars night, the focus will revert to the nominees, and the red carpet glamour.

FRONTRUNNERS 

In the best actor category, Christian Bale looks to be the frontrunner for his uncanny portrayal of Cheney in Vice.

But Rami Malek's Golden Globe win for his work as Freddie Mercury in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody put him into the conversation. Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) and Cooper (A Star Is Born) are also contenders, with Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate) rounding out the field as a dark horse.

For best actress, Glenn Close's momentum is soaring after her twin Globe and Critics' Choice wins for The Wife, in which she plays a woman author whose marriage boils over when her writer husband wins the Nobel Prize.

But Gaga and Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Anne in The Favourite, are expected to give her a fight, along with breakout Roma star Yalitza Aparicio and dark house Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?).

In the supporting actor category, Elliott will go head-to-head with Green Book star Mahershala Ali, who took home a Golden Globe. For best supporting actress, Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) will battle with Stone and Weisz.

Roma is the pre-emptive favorite for best foreign language film. It will compete with Capernaum (Lebanon), Cold War (Poland), Never Look Away (Germany) and Shoplifters (Japan).

The 91st Academy Awards are taking place on February 24 in Hollywood.

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