This year’s Oscar nominations have reignited the row about representation in Hollywood, as well as making some high-profile omissions.
No women have been nominated for best director. That means that over the past 10 years, 49 out of the 50 best director nominees have been men.
That’s despite huge support for Greta Gerwig for her scintillating adaptation of ‘Little Women’, while there were also hopes for ‘Lulu Wang’ (The Farewell) and ‘Marielle Heller’ (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood).
It is an extremely competitive category this year, but that won’t do much to soothe those who say that the Oscars still aren’t doing enough for equality, despite the reforms made to its voting membership in recent years.
After announcing the shortlist, actress Issa Rae pointedly remarked, “Congratulations to all those men.”
Also, 19 of the 20 acting nominees this year are white ‒ the highest number since the #OscarsSoWhite outcries of 2015 and 2016, when there was a total whitewash.
After three actors of colour won golden statuettes in 2019, this year the main films in the awards race have largely not been those that are telling diverse stories with diverse casts.
The Oscar nominations come a week after the Baftas announced an all-white line-up of acting nominations. Embarrassingly for Bafta, the one black star up for an Oscar is a Brit.
That is Cynthia Erivo, who made her name across the Atlantic on Broadway and is now nominated for playing slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman in Harriet.
But there is still much unrest that this year’s list is not more diverse. There was evidently no space for Lupita Nyong’o for ‘Us’, Golden Globe winner Awkwafina for ‘The Farewell’, or Eddie Murphy for ‘Dolemite Is My Name’, to name but three. In fact, all three films were shut out entirely.
Meanwhile, some are pointing out that there was room to nominate Scarlett Johansson twice, for best actress for ‘Marriage Story’ and best supporting actress for Jojo Rabbit – her first Oscar nominations.
Not only have the Oscars missed the chance to get Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet, but they have also passed up the opportunity to give Beyoncé a ticket.
She was thought likely to be in the running for best song for ‘Spirit’ from ‘The Lion King’, but it was not to be.
That category also contained a hope for a song called ‘Glasgow’, sung by rising Irish star Jessie Buckley in ‘Wild Rose’. That too was shut out. But she’ll surely get to the Oscars in an acting capacity before too long.