Oscars 2021

Two female directors and nine actors of color nominated in historic year

Mank leads scorecard with 10 nominations · Riz Ahmed, Steven Yeun and Chadwick Boseman compete for best actor

Sacha Baron Cohen picked up a supporting actor nomination for his role as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7


Two female directors – Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell – are in the running for the best director prize at this year’s Oscars, marking the only time more than one woman has ever been in contention for the award in a single year. Only five women have ever been in the running for the award; only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 – has won.

British film-maker Fennell – perhaps best known for her acting work, playing Camilla Parker Bowles on Netflix’s The Crown – is nominated for her first ever feature, the rape revenge comedy Promising Young Woman. It is also up for best film, best original screenplay and best leading actress, for Carey Mulligan.

Zhao, meanwhile, goes into the race for both director and picture the frontrunner, with Nomadland – an elegiac drama about the lives on the road of disenfranchised older Americans starring Frances McDormand – victorious in a sweep of preceding awards ceremonies.

Also up for best director are Thomas Vinterberg (for Another Round), David Fincher (for Mank) and Lee Isaac Chung (for Minari).

Mank, a black-and-white look at the backstage dramas around the writing of Citizen Kane, starring Gary Oldman as the screenwriter Herman J Mankiewicz, leads the scoreboard of nominations this year by some distance.

It is nominated for best film, best director, original screenplay, leading actor and supporting actress (for Amanda Seyfried), costume design, production design, score, cinematography and make-up.

Yet the film – one of a substantial number of nominees distributed by Netflix – is also one of the few significant players which have not advanced the Academy’s efforts to further inclusivity over the past year.

Nine of the acting nominees are non-white, compared to one (Harriet’s Cynthia Erivo) in 2020. Riz Ahmed (for The Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari) and Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) join Oldman and Anthony Hopkins in the best actor race.

Boseman, who died from cancer aged 43 last August, is one of only seven actors who have ever earned Academy Award nominations after their deaths. Heath Ledger and Peter Finch are the only actors to have won posthumous Oscars.

Boseman’s Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis and Andra Day (for The United States V Billie Holiday) will compete against Vanessa Kirby (for Pieces of a Woman), Mulligan and McDormand for best actress.

Newcomer Maria Bakalova is in the running for best supporting actress for her role in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, while the script is up for best original screenplay.

Sacha Baron Cohen missed out on a leading actor nod for that film, but did pick up a supporting actor nomination for his role as Abbie Hoffman in The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Aaron Sorkin’s courtroom thriller about countercultural protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention took six nominations on Monday, as did The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland and Sound of Metal.

Collective, Another Round and Quo Vadis Aida? lead the field in the best international film category; the former - about astonishing medical corruption in Romania – is also up for best documentary, along with Crip Camp, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher and Time.

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon was a surprise nominee in the best animated film category; it competes against frontrunner Soul.

The Guardian short film Colette, about a 90-year-old veteran of the French Resistance, is up for best short documentary.

Last year’s Oscars saw Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite take home best picture, as well as best director, original screenplay and international feature film. Joaquin Phoenix won best actor for Joker and Renée Zellweger best actress for Judy while Laura Dern and Brad Pitt took supporting acting prizes for Marriage Story and Once Upon a Time in America.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced in June that it was delaying all Oscar events in the light of the coronavirus pandemic. Eligibility for the prizes has been radically relaxed this year.

David Rubin, the current Academy president, revealed that this year’s ceremony will take place on 25 April in Los Angeles’s Union Station, as well as in the Dolby Theatre. As with last year’s Oscars, there will be no single host but a rota of presenters.

This announcement follows Sunday night’s well-received Grammy awards, which unfolded in a relatively traditional fashion with a socially distanced ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Centre.

The Globes hybrid event, by contrast, saw co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey on opposite sides of the US and most nominees Zooming in from home. It was beset by technical difficulties, with multiple time-lags and misunderstandings and some winners cut-off mid-speech.

That event saw Nomadland take best drama and Zhao become the first Asian woman to win best director, as well as only the second ever female to do so (following Barbra Streisand in 1983 for Yentl).

Nomadland was also, alongside British drama Rocks, the scorecard winner at last week’s Bafta nominations, the first since a raft of radical changes to the voting process to further inclusivity. For those awards, Nomadland has seven nominations, and Zhao is one of four women in the running for best director. Sixteen of the acting nominees at this year’s Baftas are non-white (exactly two-thirds of the total). In 2020 there were none.

The full list of 2021 Oscar nominations

Best actress in a supporting role

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best costume design

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best original score

Da 5 Bloods
News of the World

Best adapted screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
One Night in Miami
The White Tiger

Best original screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best animated short film

Genius Loci
If Anything Happens I Love You

Best live-action short film

Feeling Through
The Letter Room
The Present
Two Distant Strangers
White Eye

Best actor in a supporting role

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom, Jr, One Night in Miami
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Lakeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best documentary

Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher

Best documentary short

A Concerto Is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song for Latasha

Best international feature film

Another Round
Better Days
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best sound

News of the World
Sound of Metal

Best production design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
News of the World

Best film editing

The Father
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
News of the World
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best visual effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
The One and Only Ivan

Best animated feature film

Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Best makeup and hairstyling

Hillbilly Elegy
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best original song

Husavik, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Fight For You, Judas and the Black Messiah
Io Sì (Seen), The Life Ahead
Speak Now, One Night in Miami
Hear My Voice, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best actor in a leading role

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best actress in a leading role

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best director

Thomas Vinterburg, Another Round
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

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