NEW YORK—Oscar voters today showered Alfonso Cuaron's “Roma" and Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Favourite” with a leading 10 nominations to the 91st Academy Awards while two dominant but contentious Hollywood forces—Netflix and Marvel—each scored their first best picture nomination.
Though many expected “A Star Is Born,” Bradley Cooper's tear-inducing revival of one of Hollywood's most oft-remade show-business myths, to top nominations, Cooper surprisingly was overlooked as director.
The academy instead put its fullest support behind a pair of indies by international directors.
“A Star Is Born” did land eight nominations, including best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott.
With “Roma,” Netflix scored its first best picture nomination—a prize the streaming giant has sought dearly.
Cuaron tied the record for most decorated Oscar nominee ever for one film with four nods for “Roma,” his deeply-personal exhumation of his Mexico City childhood.
Cuaron earned nods for direction, cinematography, original screenplay, and best picture.
Only Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane") and Warren Beatty ("Reds," "Heaven Can Wait”) have matched the four-nod feat.
Just as rewarded today was Lanthimos' period romp, which resounded most in the acting categories thanks to its trio of actresses: Olivia Colman in the best actress category, and Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone in supporting.
Along with “Roma" and "The Favourite," the nominees for best picture are Peter Farrelly's interracial road trip tale "Green Book," Ryan Coogler's superhero sensation "Black Panther," Spike Lee's white supremacist evisceration "BlacKkKlansman," the Freddie Mercury biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody," Adam McKay's highly-critical Dick Cheney biopic "Vice," and "A Star Is Born.”
With “Black Panther,” Marvel joined the club with the first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of comic book movies, they previously had been shunned from Hollywood's top honour—to the consternation of some industry insiders.
After “The Dark Knight” was snubbed in 2009, the academy expanded the best picture category from five to up to 10 nominees.
There also has been some resistance among some academy members to Netflix films since the company typically bypasses movie theatres.
Steven Spielberg, for instance, has said Netflix films are more like TV movies and deserve an Emmy, not an Oscar.
Netflix altered its policy for “Roma" and the Coen brothers' "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (which also earned three unexpected nods), premiering them first in theatres before debuting them on Netflix.
In turn, it was rewarded with 13 nominations overall.
Thirty years after landing a writing nod for 1989's “Do the Right Thing," Spike Lee was nominated for his first directing Oscar for his "BlacKkKlansman.”
The other directing nominees were Lanthimos, Cuaron, Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War") and McKay ("Vice”)—a field that, a year after continued focus on gender inequality in Hollywood, included no female directors.
The nominations, announced by Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross from L.A.'s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, included plenty of surprises.
In a banner year for documentaries, the Fred Rogers documentary “Won't You Be My Neighbour” was snubbed despite more than $22 million in ticket sales (a huge sum for a doc).
Instead, the nominees were “Free Solo," "Hale County This Morning, This Evening," "Minding the Gap," "Of Fathers and Sons," and the Ruth Bader Ginsberg portrait, "RBG.”
The acting categories played out largely as expected with a few notable differences. Along with Lady Gaga and Colman, the best actress nominees are Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma"), Glenn Close ("The Wife"), and Melissa McCarthy ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).
In best actor, the expected front-runner Christian Bale was nominated for his transformation into Cheney in “Vice" (his fourth Oscar nod), along with Cooper, Willem Dafoe ("At Eternity's Gate"), Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), and Viggo Mortensen ("Green Book”).
Notably left out were Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed") and John David Washington ("BlacKkKlansman”).
The nominees for best supporting actress were Amy Adams (“Vice"), Marina De Tavira ("Roma"), Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk”), along with Stone and Weisz.
Tavira was something a surprise, likely unseating Claire Foy of “First Man.”
But perhaps the biggest snub came in best supporting actor, where Timothy Chalamet, who broke through last year with “Call Me By Your Name," was left out for his drug addict in "Beautiful Boy.”
Nominated instead were Mahershala Ali (“Green Book"), Adam Driver ("BlacKkKlansman"), Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?"), and Sam Rockwell ("Vice”).