Hollywood’s annual Monday morning of Monday mornings saw the 2020 Oscar nominations announced at exactly 5.18am LA time, the overlooked returning to bed while nominees cranked up campaign plans. Big beasts duly triumphed.
Having spent the weekend dominating the US box office, Sam Mendes’s 1917 secured 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director — the film is awards catnip, a tale of selfless heroism doubling as a showcase for technical excellence.
What the movie business most loves to celebrate is, of course, itself, and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time …In Hollywood is also up for 10 awards, Best Picture and Best Director among them.
But the Mendes-Tarantino axis has competition. Nestled intriguingly among contenders for the grand prizes are director Bong Joon-ho and Parasite, his black-hearted South Korean social thriller.
And then there is Martin Scorsese and The Irishman, a multiple nominee even if awards voters elsewhere have denied it glory. Still, having been so roundly homaged by Joker, Scorsese can count any success for that movie as his own — Todd Phillips’s splashy origin story winning 11 nods including Best Picture and Best Director.
But its hopes mostly lie with Best Actor, a conclusion foregone enough that nominees should have been named as “Joaquin Phoenix Plus Four”. Unofficial runner-up will likely be Adam Driver for Marriage Story, the film also yielding nominations for Scarlett Johansson as Best Actress and the eternally under-valued Laura Dern, favourite for Best Supporting Actress.
Four years after #oscarssowhite, only one acting nomination among 20 went to a performer of colour – Cynthia Erivo for Harriet – while it remains useful for women filmmakers that the actress categories exist, as there was little room for them elsewhere. Announcing the all-male Best Director shortlist, co-host Issa Rae allowed herself an improvisation: “Congratulations to those men,” she smiled.
Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood
Odds* of winning: 5/4
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Todd Phillips, Joker
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Odds of winning: 1/10
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Odds of winning: 1/5
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Cynthia Erivo, Harriet
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Charlize Theron, Bombshell
*Betting odds based on Paddy Power prices at 2pm GMT