Is that it? Oscars Nominations 2020

Margot Robbie is the only Australian hope in the Oscars, in yet another year where issues of diversity seem ignored by the Academy.
Is that it? Oscars Nominations 2020

Oscars so white, Oscars so male, and not much for Aussies. Image: Margot Robbie and Kate McKinnon in Bombshell, courtesy StudioCanal.

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Rochelle Siemienowicz

Tuesday 14 January, 2020

Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards have been announced, with the usual flurry of commentary around who was snubbed, who missed out, and how the Australians are faring. 

Films by and about men dominate, with all five nominees for Best Director being male: Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Sam Mendes, Bong Joon Ho and Quentin Tarantino.


This is disappointing but not be surprising, given that in its 92 years the Academy has only ever considered five women for Best Directing. Outrage is spreading across Hollywood and the Internet, with Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film LA, calling again for deep systemic change. Even Time magazine has noted the problem and tried to explain how female directors are shut out. It's particularly galling given that this has been an outstanding year for female directed films, with Celine Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir among those ignored.

Back to those that did get recognised: Leading the pack, with 11 nominations are Phillips’ controversial Joker, followed by Scorsese’s old boys Netflix crime epic, The Irishman (10), Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (10) and Sam Mendes' war drama 1917 (10).

Greta Gerwig's Little Women was a female-led exception, and got six nominations, including for Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, but none for Gerwig as director, which feels like a snub that's repeating her omission at the Golden Globes and the Directors Guild of America Awards.

Also with six nods, Marriage Story (by Gerwig's partner Noah Baumbach), New Zealander Taika Waititi's Nazi tragi-comedy Jojo Rabbit, and the first Korean Oscar nominee Bong Joon Ho's Parasite - which competes against itself in Best International Feature Film category as well as Best Film. A global breakout hit and critical darling, the Korean film may just become the first foreign language film to win Best Film, but it's more likely it will share the fate of Roma last year, and just win the Foreign category, which due to Roma, has now been re-named International.

Parasite's success is a win for diversity, but LuLu Wang's The Farewell was ignored, and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) was the only actor of colour to be nominated from 20 slots.  

Australia's only shining hope is Margot Robbie. The actor, first nominated two years ago for her depiction of disgraced ice skater Tonya Harding in I Tonya, scored her second Oscar nomination, this time for best supporting actress for playing a sexually harassed journalist in Bombshell (releasing here this week). Her Aussie co-star Nicole Kidman missed out.

There were also dashed hopes for Best Supporting Actress nods for Australians Eliza Scanlen (Little Women) and Toni Collette (Knives Out). Robbie will have a tough time beating Laura Dern's scene-stealing divorce lawyer in Marriage Story, and Scarlett Johansson's romantic and spirited underground resister in Jojo Rabbit.

Australian editor Lee Smith, nominated three times previously and winning for Dunkirk (2017), was assumed to be a shoe-in for his work on the seamless seems-like-one-shot 1917, but missed the cut. 

We were also hoping for a fairytale nod for Rodd Rathjen's beautiful Cambodian-set Buoyancy, Australia's official submission in the International Feature category, but that was always going to be a long shot. We are grieving too for Judas Collar which was spurned in the Short Documentary category, despite an exuberant campaign by Alison James and Brooke Silcock. 

How much do the Oscars really matter? A great deal, for a nominee's career opportunities, and as a symbolic recognition of creative endeavour. But like all prizes for art, they're famously stupidly flawed and compromised, and arguably rigged.Here is the paradox: they mean a lot and they also mean nothing.

The complete list of 2020 Oscar nominations is listed below. Winners for the 92nd Academy Awards will be announced Sunday, February 9 (around midday on Monday Feb 10 Australian time.). 

Best Picture
“Ford v Ferrari” (Disney/Fox)
“The Irishman” (Netflix)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
“Joker” (Warner Bros.)
“Little Women” (Sony)
“Marriage Story” (Netflix)
“1917” (Universal)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony)
“Parasite” (Neon)

Best Director
Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
Sam Mendes (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”)

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Renee Zellweger (“Judy”)

Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)

Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)

Adapted Screenplay

Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Steve Zaillian (“The Irishman”)
Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”)
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver (“Joker”)

Best Original Screenplay

Rian Johnson (“Knives Out”)
Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”)
Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won (“Parasite”)

Animated Feature

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“I Lost My Body”
“Missing Link”
“Toy Story 4”

International Feature Film
“Corpus Christi”
“Les Miserables”
“Pain and Glory”

Best Documentary
“American Factory”
“The Cave”
“Edge of Democracy”
“For Sama”

Best Cinematography

Rodrigo Prieto, “The Irishman”
Lawrence Sher, “Joker”
Jarin Blaschke, “The Lighthouse”
Roger Deakins, “1917”
Robert Richardson, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson, “The Irishman”
Mayes C. Rubeo, “Jojo Rabbit”
Mark Bridges, “Joker”
Jacqueline Durran, “Little Women”
Arianne Phillip, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Film Editing

Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland, “Ford vs. Ferrari”
Thelma Schoonmaker, “The Irishman”
Tom Eagles, “Jojo Rabbit”
Jeff Groth, “Joker”
Yang Jinmo, “Parasite”

Makeup and Hairstyling

“Bombshell” (Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker)
“Joker” (Nicki Ledermann and Kay Georgiou)
“Judy” (Jeremy Woodhead)
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” (Paul Gooch, Arjen Tuiten and David White)
“1917” (Naomi Donne, Tristan Versluis and Rebecca Cole)

Original Score

Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Joker”
Alexandre Desplat, “Little Women”
Randy Newman, “Marriage Story”
Thomas Newman, “1917”
John Williams, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

Original Song

I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” “Toy Story 4”
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again,” “Rocketman”
“I’m Standing With You,” “Breakthrough”
“Into the Unknown,” “Frozen 2”
“Stand Up,” “Harriet”

Production Design

“The Irishman”
Production Design: Bob Shaw
Set Decoration: Regina Graves

“Jojo Rabbit”
Production Design: Ra Vincent
Set Decoration: Nora Sopková

Production Design: Dennis Gassner
Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Production Design: Barbara Ling
Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh

Production Design: Lee Ha Jun
Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo

Sound Editing

“Ford v Ferrari” (Donald Sylvester)
“Joker” (Alan Robert Murray)
“1917” (Oliver Tarney and Rachael Tate)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Wylie Stateman)
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Matthew Wood and David Acord)

Sound Mixing

“Ad Astra” (Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano)
“Ford vs. Ferrari” (Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Steven A. Morrow)
“Joker” (Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic and Tod Maitland)
“1917” (Mark Taylor and Stuart Wilson)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Michael Minkler, Christian P. Minkler and Mark Ulano)

Visual Effects

“Avengers: Endgame” (Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken and Dan Sudick)
“The Irishman” (Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Nelson Sepulveda-Fauser and Stephane Grabli)
“The Lion King” (Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newman)
“1917” (Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy)
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy)

Documentary (Short Subject)

“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

Short Film (Animated)

“Hair Love”

Short Film (Live Action)

“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbor’s Window”
“A Sister”

About the author

Rochelle Siemienowicz is a journalist for Screenhub. She is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the the co-host of Australia's longest running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press.

Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk
Instagram: Rochelle_Rochelle
Facebook: Rochelle Siemienowicz