Oscar 2019: Roma, The Favourite Dominate Oscar Nominations, with 10 Nods Each

Roma, Alfonso Cuaron’s intimate epic, a personal memory foreign film (in Spanish) and Yorgos Lantimous’ The Favourite, a political satire about royal intrigues, dominated nominations for the 2019 Academy Awards, earning 10 nominations each.

The 2019 Oscars ceremony will be broadcast live on February 24 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on

Best Picture

The competition for Best Picture also includes:

“Black Panther,” the blockbuster comic book film;

“A Star Is Born,” a rock ‘n roll remake of an oft-told love story;

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” a biopic of Freddie Mercury that got bad publicity due to the firing of its director Bryan Singer, but was nonetheless, a box office sensation.

“Vice,” a scabrous look at the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Roma solidifies Netflix’s position as a major force in prestige filmmaking.

The company is spending top dollar to promote its films to Oscar voters.

It is the first time Netflix has earned a best picture nomination.

“The Favourite’s” recognition comes as Fox Searchlight, the studio behind the critically adored film is preparing for life under a new corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company.

“BlacKkKlansman,” a thriller about a black detective’s infiltration of the Ku Klux Klan;

Green Book, a road trip dramedy that unfolds in the Civil Rights era;

This year, also marks the first time that a superhero film, “Black Panther,” has earned a best picture nod. The Marvel adventure became a cultural sensation and a rallying cry for the power of inclusion at a time when Hollywood is under pressure to produce more movies starring women and people of color.

Best Actress:

Glenn Close picked up her seventh Oscar nomination for “The Wife,” an indie drama about a woman whose contributions to the career of her husband, a Nobel Prize-winning author, have been overlooked.

If she loses, Close will become the unluckiest actress in Oscar history, lapping Thelma Ritter and Deborah Kerr, both with six losses, for that distinction.

Close’s main competition is likely to come from Lady Gaga, the pop singer who dazzled critics with her turn as a blazing new vocal talent in “A Star Is Born,” or Olivia Colman, the English character actress who ably unearthed the bruised heart of an otherwise gorgon of a queen in “The Favourite.”

The other contenders are Yalitza Aparicio for her work as a kind-hearted maid in “Roma” and Melissa McCarthy for her turn as a misanthropic literary forger in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Best Actor:

The Best Actor Oscar also seems be a tight race.

Christian Bale earned his fourth nomination for his chameleonic turn as Dick Cheney in “Vice.” The Welsh actor packed on 40 pounds to transform himself in the conservative pol, and despite the fact that he’s already been rewarded for “The Fighter” (he shed weight for that one), he could be well positioned to earn his second statue following a Golden Globes win. Right now, Bale’s main rivals for the prize are likely to be Rami Malek, nominated for his performance as Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Bradley Cooper, recognized for his work as an alcoholic singer in “A Star is Born.” Malek won the Globe for best actor in a drama, while Bale took the best actor in a comedy prize. The Oscars don’t distinguish between the categories in that way. The other nominees were Willem Dafoe for his work as a tortured Vincent Van Gogh in “At Eternity’s Gate” and Viggo Mortensen as a racist bouncer in Green Book.” Despite being recognized for his acting, Bradley Cooper was snubbed for his work directing “A Star is Born.”

Best Director

The directing category includes “Roma’s” Aflonso Cuaron, a previous Oscar-winner for “Gravity,” “Vice’s” Adam McKay, “The Favourite’s” Yorgos Lanthimos, and “Cold War’s” Paweł Pawlikowski. The fifth slot went to Spike Lee for “BlacKkKlansman.” It, astoundingly, the first directing nomination for Lee despite a resume that includes such classics as “Malcolm X” and “Do the Right Thing.” Lee was also nominated for producing “BlacKkKlansman” and for co-writing its screenplay.

Cuaron, who drew on his childhood in Mexico City to craft “Roma,” also scored Oscar nominations for his work as a producer, writer, and cinematographer on the film. That showing ties him with Warren Beatty, Alan Menken, and Joel and Ethan Coen, for the most nominations for a single movie. Beatty previously pulled off that feat on two separate occasions, for “Heaven Can Wait” and “Reds,” Menken hit the milestone with his compositions for “Beauty and the Beast,” and the Coens achieved the feat for “No Country for Old Men.” Cuaron was shut out in one category — he was overlooked for editing “Roma.”

All of this jockeying for awards comes amidst tectonic shifts in the movie business.

Its been roughly a year since “The Shape of Water” swept the 2018 Oscars.

Disney is wrapping up its $72 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox and much of the Murdoch clan’s entertainment assets, and AT&T has completed its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner, rechristening the company WarnerMedia in the process.

These mergers will better position the companies for a digital future, one in which customers prefer to have their movies and shows are streamed to their televisions, laptops, and smartphones. At the same time, Netflix, the internet disruptor who has ushered in these changes, has shown a willingness this awards season to incorporate more of the old ways of doing business. “Roma,” for instance, became one of the digital giant’s first movies to have an exclusive theatrical release. However, its relatively brief two-week in-theaters only run did little to endear Netflix to exhibitors.

Netflix has also exhibited a traditional media company’s affinity for validation in the form of golden baubles. The company has spent heavily in its pursuit of awards attention, shelling out more than $25 million in its battle to make “Roma” an Oscar champion. As part of that effort, it also signed a deal with veteran awards strategist Lisa Taback to provide her services. Taback has previously overseen the campaigns for such Oscar darlings as “Chicago” and “The Artist.”

It was a bittersweet morning for Fox, which scored the most nominations of any company, a leading 20, even as it stared down the barrel at virtual oblivion. The Disney merger will likely result in thousands of layoffs. In addition to “The Favourite,” Fox scored five nominations for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” two for “Isle of Dogs,” and three for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Every Oscar campaign attracts controversies and this year has been no exception. “Green Book” is riding high after its win at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, but the look at the friendship between a white nightclub bouncer and the black jazz pianist he’s hired to drive through the segregated South, has careened from one bad headline to another. In recent weeks, decades-old stories about director Peter Farrelly exposing himself to actors as a joke on the sets of his earlier films, recirculated, and an anti-Muslim tweet by producer Nick Vallelonga was discovered and widely shared on Twitter. Farrelly was snubbed in the directing category. Likewise, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been grappling with how to best handle the firing of Singer, who, depending on the telling, either stopped showing up to set as part of a career-long pattern of unprofessional behavior or had to deal with a family emergency. So far Malek and the producers solution has simply been to ignore the elephant in the auditorium by rewriting him out of their

Netflix has also exhibited a traditional media company’s affinity for validation in the form of golden baubles. The company has spent heavily in its pursuit of awards attention, shelling out more than $25 million in its battle to make “Roma” an Oscar champion. As part of that effort, it also signed a deal with veteran awards strategist Lisa Taback to provide her services. Taback has previously overseen the campaigns for such Oscar darlings as “Chicago” and “The Artist.”

Fox Studio, which scored the most nominations of any company, a leading 20, is in the process of being integrated (and disappear?) into Disney.  The Disney merger will likely result in thousands of layoffs.

In addition to “The Favourite,” Fox scored five nominations for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” two for “Isle of Dogs,” and three for “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Controversies

“Green Book” is riding high after its win at the Producers Guild Awards on Saturday,.

The look at the friendship between a white nightclub bouncer and the black jazz pianist he’s hired to drive through the segregated South has many admirers.

However, the picture has careened from one bad headline to another. In recent weeks, stories about director Peter Farrelly exposing himself to actors as a joke on the sets of his earlier films, recirculated.

There was also resurfacing of anti-Muslim tweets by producer Nick Vallelonga was discovered and widely shared on Twitter. Peter Farrelly was snubbed in the directing category; his anticipated nod instead went to the much deserved Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite.

Likewise, “Bohemian Rhapsody” has been grappling with how to best handle the firing of Singer, who, depending on the telling, either stopped showing up to set as part of a career-long pattern of unprofessional behavior or had to deal with a family emergency. So far Malek and the producers solution has simply been to ignore the elephant in the auditorium by rewriting him out of their

There were several unexpected nominations and admissions. Timothee Chalamet was overlooked in the supporting actor category for his performance as a drug addict in Amazon’s “Beautiful Boy,” a blow for the streamer which has been reassessing its approach to making movies after a series of box office disappointments.

Amazon: Cold War

Amazon scored with a best foreign language film and directing nominee for “Cold War.”

Overlooked Performances

Other performers who were overlooked include John David Washington for his turn as a crusading cop in “BlacKkKlansman,” Emily Blunt for putting a new spin on a familiar nanny in “Mary Poppins Returns,” and Claire Foy for her work as Janet Armstrong, the long-suffering wife of astronaut Neil Armstrong, in “First Man.”

Supporting Actor

The supporting actor race will be between Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), and Sam Elliott, scoring his first nod at 75 for his work in “A Star is Born.”

Sam Rockwell was a surprise nominee for his sly take on George W. Bush.

Supporting Actress

The supporting actress battle includes two co-stars from “The Favourite,” Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, as well as Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) and Amy Adams (“Vice”). Marina de Tavira was a surprise nominee for her role as a mother struggling to hold her family together in the midst of a divorce in “Roma.” King and Ali have picked up most of the supporting actor awards leading into Tuesday’s nominations.

 

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