December 3, 2022


Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

2021 Oscar nominations: ‘Mank,’ ‘Minari,’ ‘Nomadland’ score

In the midst of a global pandemic that has crushed Hollywood’s spirits along with its business models, Monday morning’s nominations for the 93nd Academy Awards provided a shot in the arm for both the film industry and cinephiles alike, with David Fincher’s period drama “Mank” leading the pack with 10 nominations including best picture, and “Nomadland,” “Minari” and “Judas and the Black Messiah” also earning top nods.

Not surprisingly, after a year that saw moviegoing largely reduced to what you could watch on your couch, streaming services continue to dominate this year’s awards derby, with half of the best picture nominations going to Netflix and Amazon Studios. Meanwhile, the major studios were relegated to also-ran status, having postponed many of their biggest awards prospects to avoid box office doom, giving smaller, more intimate releases more room to shine.

The other best picture nominees include “The Father,” “Promising Young Woman,” “Sound of Metal” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

As in recent years, issues of inclusion have once again loomed large this awards season. Last month’s Golden Globes were held under a cloud of controversy after a Times investigation highlighted the fact that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., which hands out the awards, has no Black members. (In the wake of The Times’ report, the group has pledged to add Black and other underrepresented members, along with other reforms.)

A number of actors of color were recognized for their work by the film academy, including LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya, who each earned supporting actor nominations for “Judas and the Black Messiah” alongside Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami.” For his turn in “Minari,” Steven Yeun became the first Asian American to earn a lead actor nomination, with Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) also earning a nod alongside Chadwick Boseman, who drew a posthumous nomination for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” In the lead actress category, Andra Day followed her Globes win with a nod for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” while Viola Davis earned her fourth Oscar nod for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” becoming the most-nominated Black actress ever.

For the first time ever, the directing category included two women, Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.”

Given the dearth of blockbuster fare and the likelihood that the usually star-studded telecast will be held virtually, it remains to be seen how much interest the academy will be able to drum up for this year’s Oscars, which were pushed back two months due to the pandemic. But with awards shows across the board already struggling with shrinking audiences, early indications are not encouraging. Last month’s Golden Globe Awards saw its ratings take a nosedive, dropping a whopping 63% from 2020′s telecast.

The Academy Awards will be held April 25 at the Dolby Theatre and L.A.’s Union Station.

This story will be updated.