Oscar nominations 2020: ‘Joker’ leads with 11; complete list of nominees

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in “Joker.” Handout photo by Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros.

“Joker,” the controversial drama about the mentally ill Batman villain that sparked backlash with its realistic depictions of extreme violence, triumphed at the 92nd annual Academy Awards nominations on Monday morning, earning 11 nods, the most of any film.

Three films were close behind with 10 nominations: “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino’s fictional ode to 1960s Hollywood; “The Irishman,” Martin Scorsese’s mob drama starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci that clocks in at three and a half hours; and “1917,” the World War I epic that centers on two British soldiers on a dangerous trip to deliver a critical message that could save 1,600 troops.

All four of those movies also earned best picture nominations. Rounding out the prestigious category is “Little Women,” Greta Gerwig’s version of Louisa May Alcott’s tale of four sisters growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War; “Marriage Story,” which centers on an excruciating divorce and custody battle; “Parasite,” the South Korean psychological thriller-slash-dark comedy; “Jojo Rabbit,” about a young German boy who counts Hitler as an imaginary friend; and “Ford v Ferrari,” based on the true story of Ford’s goal to make a faster car than the Ferrari.

For the second year in a row, there were no women nominated in the best director category: Nominees included Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Bong Joon-ho, Sam Mendes and Todd Phillips, with the notable snub of Gerwig.

Once again, the Oscars ceremony will be host-free – after the debacle over Kevin Hart’s tweets in 2019, the show’s producers aren’t taking any chances. “There was a lot of conversation about which way to go and there may be a day when we decide to have a host again, but the focus has been on the most entertaining show and not on the host,” ABC entertainment president Karey Burke told reporters last week.

The nominations were announced Monday morning, hosted by actress Issa Rae and John Cho. The Academy Awards air Sunday, Feb. 9 – with no host – on ABC.

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Oscar nominations by movie:

“Joker” – 11

“Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” – 10

“The Irishman” – 10

“1917” – 10

“Parasite” – 6

“Marriage Story” 6

“Little Women” – 6

“Bombshell” – 3

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The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards:

Best picture

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“The Irishman”

“Parasite”

“1917”

“Marriage Story”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Joker”

“Little Women”

“Ford v Ferrari”

Analysis: The best predictors for the Oscar nominations are often the respective category’s guild awards, and this year’s best picture nominees almost mirror those for the Producers Guild Awards’ top prize. The exception would be “Knives Out,” which the PGAs nominated but which landed only a best original screenplay nomination here. None of these titles are a shock, though it’s worth noting that “Parasite” has picked up enough steam in the past few weeks to land major nominations outside the international feature film category.

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Best actress in a leading role

Renée Zellweger, “Judy”

Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”

Analysis: There are no major surprises here, though one could surely take issue with the lack of nods for Awkwafina, a Golden Globe winner for her dramatic turn in “The Farewell,” and Cho Yeo-jeong, a scene-stealer in Bong Joon-ho’s heavily nominated “Parasite.” Unlike BAFTA, the voting body overseeing Britain’s equivalent of the Oscars, the academy also gave a nod to Erivo’s performance in the long-awaited “Harriet.” It’s worth noting that Johansson is nominated for her first Oscar (make that two, since she also got a supporting actress nod for “Jojo Rabbit.”) She has solid contenders in Zellweger, Theron and Ronan, so the outcome for this category is anyone’s guess.

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Best actor in a leading role

Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”

Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

Analysis: Joaquin Phoenix, the clear front-runner; Adam Driver; and Leonardo DiCaprio have consistently landed best actor nominations throughout award season, but those last two slots have been in flux. Critics’ favorite Antonio Banderas was always in the running for his emotional performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” while Jonathan Pryce also earned a Golden Globe nomination for his role in “The Two Popes.” Potential snubs include Christian Bale for “Ford v Ferrari” and Robert De Niro for “The Irishman,” two films that fared well in other categories.

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Best director

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite”

Sam Mendes, “1917”

Todd Phillips, “Joker”

Analysis: “Congratulations to those men,” Rae joked after the nominations were read. Indeed, the lack of Greta Gerwig’s inclusion for “Little Women” is a snub, though sadly not an unexpected one. The director to watch here is Tarantino, who has been twice nominated for the award to no avail. A wave of goodwill has swelled around Bong’s film “Parasite.” Directors of foreign-language films don’t historically win in this category – Alfonso Cuarón winning for “Roma” last year being a notable exception – so a W for Joon-ho could begin a welcome/interesting trend. But let’s not forget that although Phillips’s “Joker” might be the year’s most divisive film, it’s also the one with the most Oscar nods. One thing’s for certain: A dude will be bringing this trophy home … again.

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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”

Analysis: This race has long been Pitt’s to lose, especially if Pacino and Pesci split voters fond of Scorsese’s mob epic. If Pitt does emerge victorious, it’ll be his first Oscar win for acting, despite three nominations. However, the academy always enjoys an actor’s soulful transformation into a real person, so Hanks’s turn as Mister Rogers stands a strong chance. But no one should sleep on Hopkins – voter buzz around “The Two Popes” has been strong during the past few months. One thing’s for certain: Netflix did well here; three of the five performances were in films produced by the streaming service.

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Best actress in a supporting role

Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

Florence Pugh, “Little Women”

Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”

Analysis: If any race has a clear front-runner, it’s here. Dern has spent most of the year as a favorite, and nothing here suggests she won’t win – except, maybe, Johansson’s nomination. The actress, who has never before been nominated, appears both here and in best actress (for “Marriage Story”). There’s clearly a wave of support for Johansson, which suggests she just might upset Dern. Speaking of upset, though she was a long shot, many “Hustlers” fans are decrying the lack of Jennifer Lopez – some even calling it a snub.

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Best international feature film

South Korea, “Parasite”

Spain, “Pain and Glory”

France, “Les Misérables”

North Macedonia, “Honeyland”

Poland, “Corpus Christi”

Analysis: “Parasite,” which landed five other nominations, is somehow the first South Korean film to ever appear in this category. It’s the obvious front-runner, with Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” a drama about the life of an aging film director, and Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables,” a film inspired by the 2005 Paris riots, perhaps tied for second.The category, recently renamed from “best foreign language film,” drummed up quite a bit of controversy when the academy disqualified two entries, Nigeria’s “Lionheart” and Austria’s “Joy,” for featuring too much dialogue in English – an issue many thought would be resolved by the change in name. But the category’s requirement that each film feature a “predominantly non-English dialogue track” remained the same.

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Best adapted screenplay

“The Irishman”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Little Women”

“The Two Popes”

“Joker”

Analysis: If we were betting types, we would have made a nice bit of pocket money off this category. The uplifting “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” got no love, but the nihilistic “Joker” did, which, honestly, sign of our times, right? Greta Gerwig, snubbed for directing, gets some shine in this category for her novel approach to adapting a story that’s been told many times before. If “The Irishman” takes it, will it provide encouragement to writers nationwide, the ones who have difficulty editing down their work to more reasonable lengths?

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Best original screenplay

“Marriage Story”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Parasite”

“Knives Out”

“1917”

Analysis: As mainstream films rely more and more heavily on preexisting intellectual property with each passing year, it’s certainly refreshing to be reminded that original stories can capture the imagination of both moviegoers and industry insiders alike. That’s certainly what this category suggests, as four of the five films nominated here also received best picture nods. Tarantino is so known for winning this award, some in Hollywood call it “the Tarantino.” But don’t forget about Rian Johnson, whose crowd-pleasing whodunit “Knives Out” has been widely celebrated but received only a single nomination from the academy.

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Best animated feature film

“Toy Story 4”

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”

“Missing Link”

“I Lost My Body”

“Klaus”

Analysis: Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is the clear front-runner here, though don’t discount the category’s other offerings – particularly “I Lost My Body,” a dark French drama that stunned at Cannes, and “Klaus,” a tender Christmas story from Netflix. We are surprised to see “Frozen II” left out of the mix – an omission that’s getting a rather chilly reception on social media.

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Best documentary feature

“American Factory”

“The Edge of Democracy”

“Honeyland”

“For Sama”

“The Cave”

Analysis: This may be “American Factory’s” category to lose. The feature, which was produced by the Obamas and follows an Ohio auto-glass manufacturing plant’s transition to Chinese ownership, already won the directing award at Sundance. Even more notable is what’s missing: “One Child Nation” and “Apollo 11,” the latter of which did incredibly well at the box office for a documentary and topped some experts’ prediction lists for the feature to win in this category.

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Best documentary short subject

“In the Absence”

“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”

“Life Overtakes Me”

“St. Louis Superman”

“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

– – –

Best animated short film

“Dcera (Daughter)”

“Hair Love”

“Kitbull”

“Memorable”

“Sister”

– – –

Best live action short film

“Brotherhood”

“Nefta Football Club”

“The Neighbors’ Window”

“Saria”

“A Sister”

– – –

Best film editing

“The Irishman”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Parasite”

“Joker”

“Jojo Rabbit”

– – –

Best cinematography

“1917,” Roger Deakins

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Robert Richardson

“The Irishman,” Rodrigo Prieto

“Joker,” Lawrence Sher

“The Lighthouse,” Jarin Blaschke

Analysis: It’s wonderful to see Blaschke’s work on the visually striking (even upsetting) film “The Lighthouse” recognized by the academy, especially since the film received no other nominations. But it’s going to be tough to topple Deakins, who is considered by many – and particularly among academy voters – to be the best in the business, and whose “1917” turns the beautiful horror of war into a visual feast.

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Best original song

“I’m Standing With You,” from “Breakthrough”

“Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen II”

“Stand Up,” from “Harriet”

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”

“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from “Toy Story 4”

Analysis: Well, once Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s song from “Cats” was excluded from the shortlist, all bets were off here! But seriously, the absence of “Spirit” from “The Lion King” soundtrack is notable, as the Beyoncé ballad was expected to show up in this category. But Disney should be happy, because while “Frozen II” was left off the best animated film list, at least it earned a nod for its signature song from the sequel. It might be tough to achieve the same success as “Let It Go,” though – industry voters appear to be big fans of “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the Elton John biopic.

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Best visual effects

“Avengers: Endgame”

“The Lion King”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“The Irishman”

“1917”

Analysis: This award is generally the most likely to honor blockbuster films. While this year is no different, it’s sneakily one of the most interesting categories here, showing a tension between old and new Hollywood. “The Irishman” made headlines for employing technology to de-age (and, in some cases, age) its actors, while “The Lion King” employed photorealistic computer-generated animation (which, in layman’s terms, means it looks like the animals are real). Meanwhile, traditional big-budget action movies like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” fight for the title, along with “1917,” a traditionally beautiful film employing a visual gimmick to make the entire film feel like one shot.

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Best production design

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“The Irishman”

“1917”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Parasite”

Analysis: All five titles were also nominated by the Art Directors Guild this year, so they stood a good chance of landing Oscar nods as well. The buzziest picks might be “1917,” the World War I film shot to appear as one continuous take that therefore required production designer Dennis Gassner to build sets to hyper-specific lengths to facilitate the actual filming after months of rehearsing on an open field to get the timing down perfectly. Much of “Parasite” takes place in the affluent Park family’s home, which appears to be a real, layered mansion but was actually a set that director Bong Joon-ho and production designer Lee Ha-Jun designed entirely from scratch.

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Best makeup and hairstyling

“Bombshell”

“Joker”

“Judy”

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

“1917”

Analysis: “Bombshell” was a shoo-in, especially given Charlize Theron’s startlingly similar look to the real-life Megyn Kelly. “Joker” and “Judy” were also expected, though many prognosticators thought the depiction of 1960s Los Angeles stars in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and the costumes in “Rocketman” would win out over “1917” and “Maleficent” (though Angelina Jolie’s look is impressive).

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Best costume design

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Little Women”

“The Irishman”

“Jojo Rabbit”

“Joker”

Analysis: We’re not surprised to see a slew of period films here, but there are arguably a few worthy contenders missing: “Rocketman,” “Harriet” and, most notably, “Dolemite Is My Name,” helmed by “Black Panther” costume designer Ruth E. Carter. But if the rest of the categories are any indication, this could come down to “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” vs. “Joker.”

– – –

Best sound mixing

“1917”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Ad Astra”

“Joker”

– – –

Best sound editing

“1917”

“Ford v Ferrari”

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

“Joker”

– – –

Best original score

“1917,” Thomas Newman

“Joker,” Hildur Guðnadóttir

“Little Women,” Alexandre Desplat

“Marriage Story,” Randy Newman

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” John Williams

Analysis: Gudnadottir’s unsettling “Joker” score has done well in the smaller awards shows preceding the Oscars, earning a Golden Globe, a Critic’s Choice Movie Award and a Satellite Award. But now “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and its familiar epic score, which came out at the end of 2019, has had time to embed itself more deeply into audience’s minds. And it’s important to note that Williams is something of a titan, having now received a breathtaking 52 Oscar nominations. No one but Walt Disney has received more, so Gudnadottir has her work cut out for her.

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