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Cinema

The Greek Connections at this Year’s Oscar Nominations

January 14, 2020

LOS ANGELES – While Todd Phillips’ much-debated supervillain origin story and R-rated box-office smash Joker topped all films with 11 Academy Awards nominations, Martin Scorsese’s elegiac crime epic The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s Los Angeles fairy tale Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, and Sam Mendes’ World War I tale 1917 all trailed close behind with 10 nods apiece.

Those four were among the nine films nominated for best picture, in nominations announced on January 13 for the 92nd Academy Awards. The others were: Parasite, Little Women, Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, and Ford v Ferrari.

The 10 nominations for The Irishman tied the most for a Netflix film, following Roma last year. Scorsese (a one-time winner) was nominated for best director for the ninth time. The film also won nods for Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and its de-aging special effects. Greek-American Ted Sarandos is the Chief Content Officer for Netflix.

Marriage Story, also from Netflix, received nominations for best original screenplay for Noah Baumbach and in the acting categories: Scarlett Johansson for best actress, Adam Driver for best actor, and Laura Dern for best supporting actress.

The film 1917 followed up its Golden Globes win and strong opening weekend at the box office with nominations not just for its technical achievement (including Mendes’ directing and Roger Deakins’ cinematography) but for best screenplay, too.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood was also nominated in just about every category it was expected to, including Tarantino for directing and screenplay, best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best supporting actor for Brad Pitt. One of the producers on the film, Georgia Kacandes, is of Greek descent.

Greek-French composer Alexandre Desplat was nominated for Best Original Score for Little Women. He has won two Academy Awards, for his musical scores to the films The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Shape of Water, and received nine additional Academy Award nominations, including this year’s nod.

Honorary Greek citizen Tom Hanks also received a best supporting actor nomination for his role as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

For the 87th time, the academy selected all-male directing nominees despite a year in which women made historic gains behind the camera. The most likely candidate was Greta Gerwig (Little Women), who was the last woman nominated, two years ago for Lady Bird. “Congratulations to those men,” said Issa Rae, who presented the nominees alongside John Cho.

There were some surprises. Awkwafina, who was poised to become just the second Asian American nominated for best actress (the first, 1936 nominee Merle Oberon, hid her South Asian heritage), wasn’t nominated for her acclaimed leading performance in The Farewell. Also overlooked was Frozen 2, the highest grossing animated film ever; Beyonce, for her Lion King song; or the hit documentary Apollo 11.

Most glaringly, Jennifer Lopez, long considered a supporting actress front-runner for her performance in Hustlers, was also denied her first Oscar nomination.

Those oversights left the Oscars with their least diverse field since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the film academy to diversify its membership. The only actor of color nominated was Cynthia Erivo, the British actress, for her Harriet Tubman in Harriet.

This year’s nominees will for the second straight year go without a host.

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place Feb. 9 in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre. ABC will again broadcast the show, viewership for which last year rose 12% to 29.6 million.

More information is available online: Oscars.org.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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