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‘Mank’ tops the Oscar nominations.

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‘Mank' tops the Oscar nominations.
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‘Mank' tops the Oscar nominations.

‘Mank’ tops the Oscar nominations.

 

Following a pandemic year that closed theaters and upended the film industry, the Academy Awards nominated two female filmmakers for the first time, a traditionally diverse list of actors, and David Fincher’s lead-nominee “Mank,” a conventional kind of Oscar candidate — an old Hollywood homage — in a rather untraditional year.

Fincher’s black-and-white period drama “Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, comfortably topped nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards, which were postponed two months due to the coronavirus pandemic, with ten nominations, including best picture, best director, acting nominations for Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and a slew of others for its lavish craftsmanship.

Nominations were granted to a wide range of candidates. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Sound of Metal,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and “The Father,” all of which are nominated for best picture, earn six nominations. Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman” was also nominated for best picture.

In the category of best director, history was made. Just five women have been nominated in the past. This year, there were two for the first time. Chloé Zhao’s elegiac road-trip drama “Nomadland” earned a nomination, as did first-time feature filmmaker Fennell’s pitch black #MeToo revenge comedy. On Twitter, Fennell, who is also up for best screenplay, wrote, “Never going to stop crying.”

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

It’s the most diverse collection of nominees in the history of the Academy Awards, and a far cry from the all-white acting nominations that sparked the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag five years ago. Nine of the 20 acting nominees are black, including Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Steven Yeun (“Minari”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Andra Day (“The People vs. Billie Holiday”), as well as supporting nominations for Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”).

Day, who was nominated for her portrayal of Billie Holiday, said, “We have to remember how hard these people have worked.” “We have to accept their abilities.”

“It’s strange hearing your own name,” Ahmed, the first Muslim nominated for best actor, said. “I also silently thanked God and felt grateful.”

Davis earned her fourth Oscar nomination for her role in 2016’s “Fences,” making her the most nominated Black actress in history. Yeun is the first Asian American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Shaka King’s strong Black Panther drama “Judas and the Black Messiah” is the first best-picture nominee of an all-Black producing team (King along with Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King). According to the Academy, a record 70 women were nominated for 76 Oscars.

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”), Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) are the other nominees for best actress. Anthony Hopkins, who stars in the dementia drama “The Father,” is the final best actor nominee.

With moviegoing almost wiped out by the coronavirus, the best-picture winners had a meager $14.1 million in ticket sales in the United States and Canada. For the first time, the most coveted awards in Hollywood have gone to films that were almost exclusively seen at home.

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

Netflix led all studios with 35 nominations, as predicted. The streaming service is still looking for its first best-picture winner, and “Mank” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7” — a film that Paramount Pictures sold off during the pandemic — are both contenders this year. Netflix was also the most nominated last year, with 24 nominations, but just two wins.

There were also other streamers in the mix. Amazon Studios, in particular, was well-represented, with 12 nominations for “Sound of Metal,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” and “One Night in Miami.” Both Apple TV+ and Disney+ earned their first nominations for “Wolfwalkers,” “Greyhound,” and “Soul,” “Onward,” respectively. Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which attempted to lead a box-office comeback, earned nominations for production design and visual effects.

Presenters Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced the nominations from London. Normally, the Academy Awards will have aired by now, but this year they will be broadcast on April 25. The film academy announced Monday that the event would take place at both the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and Union Station, the city’s railway center.

This year’s awards season, which is usually a months-long whirlwind of previews, cocktail parties, and schmoozing, has been completely virtual, depriving the Oscars of any of their hype and predictability. Early 2021 releases were added to the list of eligible films, as well as films that were not released in theaters.

“There is nothing more conventional in our industry than the Academy Awards,” Oldman said in a statement, “which hopefully sends a sign of hope that we can get out of this.” “The Oscars serve as a reminder that normalcy can still exist.”

Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” which was nominated solely for its score, was one of the films hoping for a better showing on Monday. Just eight films were nominated for best picture, with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” and Golden Globe winner “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” being left out.

Despite the film’s lack of a best-picture nomination, Sacha Baron Cohen, who played Borat, was nominated 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. Glenn Close for “Hillbilly Elegy” and Olivia Colman for “The Father” were also nominated in this category.

The documentary category may have been the most competitive, with nominations for “Collective,” “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolt,” “The Mole Agent,” My Octopus Instructor,” and “Time.” The Romanian documentary “Collective,” about investigative journalism and government corruption, is only the second film to be nominated for both best documentary and best foreign film. “Quo Vadis, Aida?” from Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Another Round” from Denmark, “Better Days” from Hong Kong, and “The Man Who Sold His Skin” from Tunisia were the other foreign film nominees.

“Onward,” “Over the Moon,” “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” “Soul,” and “Wolfwalkers” are the nominees for best animated film.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC will hope that the nominees will generate more interest than they have elsewhere. Over the pandemic, interest in small golden statuettes has plummeted. Last month, ratings for a mostly virtual Golden Globes fell to 6.9 million viewers, a 64 percent decrease from 2020. The Grammys, on the other hand, managed to crack through the Zoom barrier on Sunday.

The pandemic has been punishing for the movie industry, with the notable exception of fueling streaming subscriber development. Production slowed to a halt, blockbusters were postponed or redirected to streaming, and thousands of people were laid off or furloughed as a result.

However, as coronavirus cases have decreased and vaccines have been increased, the outlook for Hollywood has improved. Movie theaters are reopening in the U.S.’s two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles. In addition, several larger films, including Walt Disney Co.’s “Black Widow” (May 7) are set to be released in May and beyond.

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