On the morning of Monday, Jan. 13, the coveted list of nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards blew up our timelines. Even if we often expect some of the predictability that award shows typically provide, there’s always a glimmer of hope that the Academy will finally get it in terms of diversity in all categories—especially the major ones.
But sadly, the first year of a brand new decade wouldn’t achieve the full scope of this goal.
After announcing this year’s—once again—all-male nominations for Best Director, Issa Rae wittily added, “Congratulations to those men.” That simple phrase pretty much sums up what a lot of us were thinking at first glance.
With plenty of huge films spearheaded by female directors like Lulu Wang from “The Farewell,” Marielle Heller from “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and even Lorene Scafaria from “Hustlers,” one would think a few of them would’ve been included in the five person lineup.
Many were also predicting that Greta Gerwig and her adaptation of “Little Women” was most deserving of a spot, which would have made her the first female director to be nominated twice in the prestigious category. In the show’s 92 year history, only five women have been nominated and out of all of them, Kathryn Bigelow was the first and only—so far—to actually win in 2010 with her work in “The Hurt Locker.”
Although 2020 isn’t giving us a complete duplicate of 2015’s #OscarsSoWhite, there are still a plethora of missed opportunities the Academy simply ignored. Cynthia Ervio, who played Harriet Tubman in “Harriet,” is the only nonwhite actor nominated.
Many were hoping the hype around Jennifer Lopez’s possible Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as Ramona in “Hustlers” would come into fruition. Awkwafina’s snub for her lead performance in “The Farewell” was also a shock to many—as she recently took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. Let us not forget how Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in the thriller “Us” was shut out in almost all major shows except for the upcoming Screen Actors Guild Awards. Acting aside, “Spirit,” Beyoncé’s powerful, vocally intricate ballad from the “Lion King” remake was left out—even with the Disney backing.
Sidenote: some of our most beloved comedians weren’t so lucky either. It was only right for Eddie Murphy to get another chance at an Academy Award to make up for his Best Supporting Actor loss for his role in “Dreamgirls,” but his performance as Rudy Ray Moore in the biographical film “Dolemite Is My Name” didn’t make the cut. For some, Adam Sandler’s lead role in “Uncut Gems” imploded with chatter of the “Saturday Night Live” alum’s first possible Oscar nod, but Sandler and the film itself were left out entirely. But don’t worry, Sandler has been a good sport about it.
“Bad news: Sandman gets no love from the Academy,” Sandler wrote on Twitter. “Good news: Sandman can stop wearing suits.”
Thankfully, there is a major feat in terms of diversity amongst the most anticipated categories. Closely behind “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and other films scattered within the bulk of the list, the dark comedy thriller “Parasite” became the first South Korean film to be nominated in the Best Picture, Best Director, and Best International Feature Film categories. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film also received nominations for Best Production Design, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.
This year’s ceremony will air Sunday, Feb. 9 on ABC. Hopefully, Hollywood will step up even more in the next coming years, so more instances of a “Parasite” moment can flourish.
Rylee Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @rybyjackson.