Oscars Nominations 2020: “Joker” Leads, Women Directors Are Overlooked Again

It was a good year for “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix, male directors, and Netflix, but women and people of color were notably snubbed.

In the 92nd Academy Awards nominations announced Monday, the controversial thriller “Joker” swept the floor—and the voters’ stunning lack of diversity in choices has drawn expected criticism.

No woman filmmaker was nominated in the director category for the second consecutive year, and mostly white nominees filled the ranks of major categories.

“Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix led the pack with 11 nominations, including for best picture, director, actor, and score. Directors including Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Kasi Lemmons (“Harriet”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”), and Melina Matsoukas (“Queen and Slim”) were key snubs for best director this cycle. 

Behind “Joker” are largely male-led productions including “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood,” a Quentin Tarantino depiction of mid-twentieth century Hollywood starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DeCaprio, “The Irishman,” a four-hour drama with grandfatherly heavyweights Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino, and “1917,” a World War I epic.

Streaming platforms continued to gain ground among more traditional Hollywood hitters; Netflix took 24 nominations, including best picture nods for “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.” Other nominations on the platform included documentary “American Factory” and animated pictures “Klaus” and “I Lost My Body.” “American Factory” was the first release by Barack and Michelle Obama produced with film company Participant Media, as part of the former Presidential family’s multiyear deal with Netflix.

In the best picture category were also “Little Women,” a modern depiction of Louisa May Alcott’s 19th-century novel, Bong Joon Ho’s inventive dark comedy “Parasite,” and comedy-drama “Jojo Rabbit.” The “Parasite” best picture nomination marks the first ever for a South Korean film.

People of color and women were overlooked in several major categories, with British-Nigerian actress Cynthia Erivo as the sole Black nominee in an acting category, for best actress in “Harriet.”

While the Academy has attracted positive press for aiming to even its voting pool ranks by inviting more women, the organization remains 68 percent male and 84 percent white, according to the New York Times. 

To further underscore the problem with diversity, a report released earlier this month by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative led by Dr. Stacy L. Smith found 10.6% of the directors of 2019’s biggest box-office earners were women. That’s actually a 13-year high; the percentage of female directors across 1,300 films since 2007 is 4.8%.

Issa Rae and John Cho announced the nominees. The Academy Awards air on Sunday, February 9 on ABC with no host.

Here is the extended list of nominees:

Best picture
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”
“Marriage Story”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“Ford v Ferrari”

Best actor in leading role
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

Best actress in leading role
Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”
Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renée Zellweger, “Judy”

Best director
Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker”
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Best actor in a supporting role
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
Al Pacino, “The Irishman”
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”

Best actress in a supporting role
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”
Florence Pugh, “Little Women”

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

Best international feature film
South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
France, “Les Misérables”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”

Best original screenplay
“Knives Out”
“Marriage Story”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Best adapted screenplay
“The Irishman”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“The Two Popes”

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

Best visual effects
“Avengers: Endgame”
“The Lion King”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“The Irishman”

Best cinematography

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

Best costume design
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Little Women”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
“The Irishman”

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

Best makeup and hairstyling

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Best sound editing
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Best sound mixing
“Ad Astra”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Best animated short film
“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”

Best live action short film
“A Sister”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”