2020 Academy Awards: ‘Joker’ is the top nominee

January 13, 2020

by Carla Hay

Joaquin Phoenix in “Joker” (Photo by Niko Tavernise)

With 11 nods, including Best Picture, Warner Bros. Pictures’ DC Comics-based supervillain drama “Joker” has the most nominations for the 92nd Annual Academy Awards, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 9, 2020. ABC will have the U.S. telecast of the show, which begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. For the second year in a row, there will not be a host for the Oscar ceremony. The 11 nods for “Joker” make it the highest number of Oscar nominations for a comic-book-based movie.

Coming close behind in Oscar nominations this year, with 10 nominations each, are Columbia Pictures’ 1969-set retro drama “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and Netflix’s mobster drama “The Irishman”; and Universal Pictures’ World War I drama  “1917.” All of these movies are contenders for Best Picture.

The Best Picture category can have up to 10 nominated movies. This year, there were nine nominated movies. The other Best Picture nominees include Fox Searchlight’s Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” Neon’s South Korean drama “Parasite,” Columbia Pictures’ remake of “Little Women” and Netflix’s divorce drama “Marriage Story,” which earned a total of six Oscar nods each. Rounding out the Best Picture nominee list is 20th Century Fox’s auto-racing drama “Ford v Ferrari,” which received four Oscar nominations.

Three of the Best Picture nominees do not have any nominations in the actor/actress categories: “1917,” “Ford v Ferrari” and “Parasite.” “Ford v Ferrari” does not have a screenplay or director nomination, therefore significantly decreasing its chances of winning Best Picture.

The nominees in the actor/actress categories all received Golden Globe nominations for the same roles, with the exception of Florence Pugh of “Little Women,” who was passed over for a Golden Globe nomination for that supporting role but scored an Oscar nod.

There were several people who received multiple Oscar nominations this year. Facing off in the same three categories (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) are Quentin Tarantino of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Bong Joo Ho of “Parasite” and Sam Mendes of “1917.” Meanwhile, Todd Phillips of “Joker” also has three nods: Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

People who received two Oscar nods each this year are actress Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story,” “Jojo Rabbit”); producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff (“Joker,” “The Irishman”); producer David Heyman (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” “Marriage Story”); “Marriage Story” writer/producer Noah Baumbach; “The Irishman” director/producer Martin Scorsese; “Jojo Rabbit” writer/director Taika Waititi; special effects supervisor Dominic Tuohy (“The Lion King,” “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”); “Marriage Story” composer/”Toy Story 4″ songwriter Randy Newman; and Cynthia Erivo, who’s nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Song for Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic “Harriet.”

Snubs and Surprises

“The Farewell” (Photo courtesy of A24)

Despite winning several awards leading up to the Oscar nominations (including a Golden Globe for star Awkwafina), the Chinese American drama “The Farewell” was completely shut out of the Oscar race. “Rocketman” star Taron Egerton was another Golden Globe winner who failed to get an Oscar nomination for his Golden Globe-winning role. The only Oscar nod for the Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman” was the expected nomination for Best Original Song: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” written by John and his longtime songwriter partner Bernie Taupin. The song won a Golden Globe and is a strong contender to win the Oscar.

“Rocketman” scored one Oscar nomination, but other movies that won awards elsewhere were completely snubbed for Oscar nominations, including A24’s drama “Uncut Gems,” Netflix’s comedy “Dolemite Is My Name,” STX Entertainment’s drama “Hustlers” and Universal Pictures’ horror film “Us.”

Disney’s popular sequel “Frozen 2” failed to get a nod in the category of Best Animated Feature, but Netflix’s Christmas film “Klaus” got a surprise nomination in this category. “Frozen 2” got an expected nomination for Best Original Song (for “Into the Unknown), while Beyoncé’s “Spirit” from “The Lion King” remake was snubbed in that category. The only Oscar nomination for “The Lion King” remake was in the category of Best Visual Effects, and that nomination was expected.

The NASA documentary “Apollo 11” has won numerous awards, but was shut out of the Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature. This snub should not come as much of surprise to observant Oscar watchers, since the documentary branch of the Academy Awards has a history of snubbing documentaries that rely heavily on archival footage that was not filmed by the documentaries’ directors.

A big surprise was that the North Macedonian documentary “Honeyland” was nominated in two categories: Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature. It’s rare for a documentary to get nominated in the Best International Feature category.

Diversity and Inclusion

Cynthia Erivo in “Harriet” (Photo by Glen Wilson/Focus Features)

It was widely predicted that no women would be nominated for Best Director, and that prediction turned out to be true. In the 92-year-history of the Academy Awards, only five women have ever gotten nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, and only one woman has won: Kathryn Bigelow for the 2009 war film “The Hurt Locker.” “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig was considered the most likely female director to get an Oscar nomination for Best Director this year. Instead, she got an expected nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie. (Gerwig’s previous Oscar nominations were for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, for the 2017 movie “Lady Bird.”)

Best Cinematography, another Oscar category that has been snubbing women for years, once again had only male nominees this year. Only one woman has been nominated in this category so far: Rachel Morrison, for the 2017 Netflix drama “Mudbound.”

After a historic number of black people (five) won Oscars in 2019, black people are underrepresented in Oscar nominations in 2020. Only four black people got Oscar nods this year: British/actress singer (and double Oscar nominee) Erivo of “Harriet”; “Hair Love” director Matthew Cherry and producer Karen Rupert Toliver, both nominated for Best Animated Short; and Mali-born writer/director Ladj Ly, whose French drama “Les Misérables” (which is not an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel) is one of the nominees for Best International Feature Film.

 Asians got the most representation with writer/director Bong Joo Ho’s  “Parasite,” which has six Oscar nods: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, Best Film Editing and Best Production Design. “Jojo Rabbit” writer/director/producer Taika Waititi (who is of Māori descent) picked up three nominations: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. “Jojo Rabbit’s” other Oscar nods went to white nominees: Best Supporting Actress, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Filipino songwriter Robert Lopez (a two-time songwriting Oscar winner for “Frozen” and “Coco”) is once again nominated with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez in the Best Original Song category—this time, for the “Frozen 2” song “Into the Unknown.”Jinko Gotoh, who is of Japanese descent, received a Best Animated Feature nod for producing “Klaus.” Oscar-winning “The White Helmets” producer Joanna Natasegara, who is of Asian descent, is nominated again for Best Documentary Feature—this time for “The Edge of Democracy.” She was previously nominated in this category for 2014’s “Virunga.”

Meanwhile, the categories for short films had a significant number of Asian filmmakers. Chinese filmmaker Siqi Song earned a Best Animated Short nomination for directing and producing “Sister.” South Korean filmmakers Yi Seung-Jun (director/producer) and Gary Byung-Seok Kam (producer) are up for Best Documentary Short for “In the Absence.” “St. Louis Superman” directors/producers Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan, who are of Indian descent, are also nominated in the Best Documentary Short category.

People of Arab descent had strong showings in the Best Documentary Feature category, which includes two nominations for movies about the war in Syria: “The Cave” (directed by Feras Fayyad, a previous nominee in this category for 2017’s “Last Men in Aleppo”) and “For Sama” (co-directed by Waad al-Kateab in her first Oscar nomination). Tunisian-born director/producer Meryam Joobeur received a Best Live-Action Short nomination for the Canadian film “Brotherhood.”

Latinos were represented in the high-profile Oscar categories with Sony Pictures Classics’ Spanish film “Pain and Glory,” writer/director Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical film, which has nominations for Best Actor (the first Oscar nomination for Antonio Banderas) and Best International Film. Meanwhile, Netflix’s “The Edge of Democracy” is up for Best Documentary Feature, the first Oscar nods for Brazilian director Petra Costa and Brazilian producer Tiago Pavan. Other first-time Oscar nominees are these filmmakers for the animated movie “Klaus”: Spanish director/producer Sergio Pablos and Venezuelan producer Marisa Román.

Also a nominee in the Best Animated Feature category is “Toy Story 4” producer Jonas Rivera, a previous Oscar winner in this category for 2009’s “Up” and 2015’s “Inside Out.” In the technical categories, Mexican director of photography Rodrigo Pietro got a nod for Best Cinematography for “The Irishman,” while Adam Valdez was part of the Oscar-nominated visual-effects team for “The Lion King.”

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards:

Best Picture
“Ford v Ferrari”
Producers: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and James Mangold

“The Irishman”
Producers: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Emma Tillinger Koskoff

“Jojo Rabbit”
Producers: Carthew Neal and Taika Waititi

“Joker”
Producers: Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper and Emma Tillinger Koskoff

“Little Women”
Producer: Amy Pascal

“Marriage Story”
Producers: Noah Baumbach and David Heyman

“1917”
Producers: Sam Mendes, Pippa Harris, Jayne-Ann Tenggren and Callum McDougall

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Producers: David Heyman, Shannon McIntosh and Quentin Tarantino

“Parasite”
Producers: Kwak Sin Ae and Bong Joon Ho

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”

Best 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”

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

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 Animated Feature
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” directed by Dean DeBlois; produced by Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold

“I Lost My Body,” directed by Jérémy Clapin; produced by Marc du Pontavice

“Klaus,” directed and produced by Sergio Pablos; produced by Jinko Gotoh and Marisa Román

“Missing Link,” directed by Chris Butler; produced by Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight

“Toy Story 4,” directed by Josh Cooley; produced by Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera

Best Animated Short
“Dcera,” directed and produced by Daria Kashcheeva
“Hair Love,” directed and produced by Matthew A. Cherry; produced by Karen Rupert Toliver
“Kitbull,” directed by Rosana Sullivan; produced by Kathryn Hendrickson
“Memorable,” directed by Bruno Collet; produced by Jean-François Le Corre
“Sister,” directed and produced by Siqi Song

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Irishman,” Steven Zaillian
“Jojo Rabbit,” Taika Waititi
“Joker,” Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
“Little Women,” Greta Gerwig
“The Two Popes,” Anthony McCarten

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

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

Best Documentary Feature
“American Factory,” directed and produced by Julia Rieichert and Steven Bognar; produced by Jeff Reichert

“The Cave,” directed by Feras Fayyad; produced by Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær

“The Edge of Democracy,” directed and produced by Petra Costa; produced by Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan

“For Sama,” directed and produced by Waad Al-Kateab; directed by Edward Watts

“Honeyland,” directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov; produced by Atanas Georgiev

Best Documentary Short Subject
“In the Absence,” directed and produced by Yi Seung-Jun; produced by Gary Byung-Seok Kam

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone,” directed by Carol Dysinger; produced by Elena Andreicheva

“Life Overtakes Me,” directed and produced by Kristine Samuelson; directed by John Haptas

“St. Louis Superman,” directed and produced by Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

“Walk Run Cha-Cha,” directed by Laura Nix; produced by Colette Sandstedt

Best Live Action Short Film
“Brotherhood,” directed and produced by Meryam Joobeur; produced by Maria Gracia Turgeon

“Nefta Football Club,” directed and produced by Yves Piat; produced by Damien Megherbi

“The Neighbors’ Window,” directed and produced by Marshall Curry

“Saria,” directed by Bryan Buckley; produced by Matt Lefebvre

“A Sister,” directed and produced by Delphine Girard

Best International Feature Film
“Corpus Christi,” directed by Jan Komasa (Poland)
“Honeyland,” directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov (North Macedonia)
“Les Misérables,” directed by Ladj Ly (France)
“Pain and Glory,” directed by Pedro Almodóvar (Spain)
“Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon Ho (South Korea)

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

Best Sound Editing
“Ford v Ferrari,” Don Sylvester
“Joker,” Alan Robert Murray
“1917,” Oliver Tarney, Rachel Tate
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Wylie Stateman
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Sound Mixing
“Ad Astra,” Gary Rydstrom, Tom Johnson and Mark Ulano
“Ford v 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

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

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

“1917”
Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

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

“Parasite”
Production Design: Lee Ha Jun; Set Decoration: Cho Won Woo

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

Best Original Song
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4,” song written by Randy Newman

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin

“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough,” song written by Diane Warren

“Into the Unknown” from “Frozen 2,” song written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez

“Stand Up” from “Harriet,” song written by Cynthia Erivo and Joshuah Brian Campbell

Best Makeup and Hair Styling
“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

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

Best 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

“1917,” Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy

“The Lion King,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Elliot Newma

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” Roger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach and Dominic Tuohy