Todd Phillips’ “Joker” scored a leading 11 Oscar nominations on Monday, including best picture, best director for Phillips and best actor for Joaquin Phoenix. Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Sam Mendes’ “1917” followed close behind with 10 nods a piece. Those films, along with “Ford v Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story” and “Parasite” will compete for best picture.
Female filmmakers were entirely shut out of the best director race. Along with Phillips, the nominees include Scorsese for “The Irishman,” Mendes for “1917,” Tarantino for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Bong Joon Ho for “Parasite.” Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Kasi Lemmons (“Harriet”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”) and Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) were all overlooked by the Academy. Only five women have ever been nominated for director, and only one, Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) has ever won the prize. Issa Rae, who had been enlisted to read off the nominees, made a biting nod to their exclusion after the directing contenders were unveiled.
Until “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was announced as a nominee for best actress, it was looking increasingly likely that the Oscars were heading for a repeat of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that drove the Academy to aggressively begin diversifying its membership four years ago. Instead, Erivo saved the Academy from the embarrassment of yet another slate of all-white acting nominees — but just barely. Awkwafina (“The Farewell”), Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”), Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”), Zhao Shuzhen (“The Farewell”), Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”), Alfre Woodard in (“Clemency”), Jamie Foxx in (“Just Mercy”) and the cast of “Parasite” failed to earn nominations.