Joker trumped critically-acclaimed titles to emerge as the front-runner at the 92nd Academy Award nominations with the Joaquin Phoenix-starrer leading the pack with 11 nods.
For the second spot, there was a tie among three most talked-about movies of the year: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman and Sam Mendes’ 1917 with 10 nominations.
Bong Joon Ho-helmed Parasite, the most buzzed international movie of the year, scripted history by becoming the first South Korean film to bag a best picture nomination. The film, which earned six nods, was also recognised in the international feature film, director and original screenplay categories.
Another foreign-language title that claimed a spot in a category other than international feature was Spanish film Pain and Glory. The Pedro Almodovar-directed movie earned Antonio Banderas the best actor nod.
Joker, which earned praise for Phoenix’s role as a man’s descent into madness and divided many for its portrayal of gun violence, dominated not just the main categories but also the technical nominations. Some of the key categories where the film bagged nods are best picture, actor, director for Todd Phillips, original score and adapted screenplay.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino’s love letter to Hollywood of 1969, will give tough competition to Joker. The film bagged 10 nominations including a surprise nod for Leonardo DiCaprio in the best actor list and the predictable best-supporting actor for Brad Pitt. It is also nominated for best director and best original screenplay.
Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes) are also vying for the best actor Oscar.
Scorsese, who had grabbed headlines for his anti-Marvel comments, has also received a lot of love from Academy voters for his reflective gangster drama The Irishman, including the best film, best director and the dual nods in the best supporting actor category for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) and Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes) completes the best supporting list.
British war drama continued its lucky streak from Golden Globes and Baftas to Oscars by matching nominations of Tarantino and Scorsese’s movies. Mendes is in the race for best director.
Lack of diversity has been a thorny issue for Hollywood awards but unlike Bafta, Oscars tried to somewhat balance the scales by nominating Banderas and Cynthia Erivo in best acting categories (Harriet), and best picture nod to Greta Gerwig’s Little Women.
Gerwig, however, was snubbed in the all-male best director category but the film managed a nod in the best-adapted screenplay, best actress for Saoirse Ronan and the best-supporting actress nod for Florence Pugh.
While Rene Zellweger (Judy), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story) were predictable choices, Charlize Theron (Bombshell) and Erivo were surprise nominees for best actress.
Laura Dern, who bagged Golden Globe for the best supporting actress, is a favourite at Oscars as well. She will fight it out with her Marriage Story co-star Johansson (Jojo Rabbit), Pugh, Margot Robbie (Bombshell) and Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell).
Apart from Parasite and Pain and Glory, the international feature film category includes French drama Les Miserables, Polish movie Corpus Christi and North Macedonian Honeyland.
Honeyland also features in the best documentary list.
Original screenplay nominees are Marriage Story, Parasite, Once Upon a Time…, 1917, and surprise entry in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.
In adapted screenplay, Little Women is pitted against The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes and Joker.
Animated feature category includes Toy Story 4, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Missing Link, I Lost My Body and Klaus.
Original score category has biggies in Alexandre Desplat (Little Women), John Williams (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) along with Golden Globe winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker), Randy Newman (Marriage Story) and Thomas Newman (1917).
Original song has nominees in ‘Into the Unknown’ from Frozen 2, ‘(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again’ from Rocketman, ‘Stand Up’ from Harriet, ‘I’m Standing With You’ from Breakthrough and ‘I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away’ from Toy Story 4.
Documentary feature also includes American Factory, The Edge of Democracy, For Sama and The Cave.
Two Indian-Americans — Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan — have bagged nominations in the documentary short category for St Louis Superman. Their documentary short will face off with In the Absence, Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl), Life Overtakes Me and Walk Run Cha-Cha.
The Irishman, Ford vs Ferrari, Parasite, Joker and Jojo Rabbit are nominated for the editing Oscar, while best cinematography includes 1917, Once Upon a Time…, Joker and The Lighthouse.
Under visual effects, Avengers Endgame, The Lion King, Star Wars, The Irishman and 1917 were nominated.
For makeup, Bombshell, Joker, Judy, 1917 and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil were chosen while Costume Design has period pieces Once Upon a Time…, Little Women, Jojo Rabbit, The Irishman and Joker.
1917, Ford vs Ferrari, Once Upon a Time… and Joker have bagged nominations for both sound mixing and editing. Space drama Ad Astra features in the sound mixing list, while Star Wars for sound editing.
The Irishman, Once Upon a Time…, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit and 1917 will compete in the production design category.
Best short (animated) has nominees in Dcera (Daughter), Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable and Sister, whereas in the live-action segment, the top five are Brotherhood, Nefta Football Clube, Neighbor’s Window, Saria and A Sister.
The Oscars will air on February 9 and without a host again.