Netflix’s "Mank" took the lead at the Academy Awards when nominations were announced Monday, earning 10 nods overall, including best picture, best director for David Fincher and best actor for Gary Oldman.
The film now has a four-award lead over its next closest competitors, which include the Black activist drama "Judas and the Black Messiah," the celebrated partly Korean-language film "Minari" and the Golden Globe-winning "Nomadland." All told, six films tied for second place with six nods each.
There were a number of historical markers. For the first time, two women were nominated for best director: Emerald Fennell, for "Promising Young Woman," and Chloé Zhao, for "Nomadland." Zhao, who is Chinese, also became the first woman of color to be nominated for a best directing Oscar. Korean-born star Steven Yeun is now the first Asian to be nominated for best actor, in "Minari."
"Sound of Metal," an Amazon Studios production, became the year’s dark horse with six nominations. Riz Ahmed, who plays a heavy-metal drummer losing his hearing, earned a nod for best actor, while Paul Raci, a hearing actor born to deaf parents, earned a supporting actor nomination. "Sound of Metal" is also a contender for best picture, a tight race this year with only eight titles in the category. (The maximum is 10.)
The late Chadwick Boseman earned a best actor nod for "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom," in which he plays a high-strung jazz musician. Boseman, who already won a Globe for that performance, now seems likely to become one of the few posthumous acting winners, following Peter Finch in "Network" and Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hands out the Oscars, seemed eager to signal its commitment to diversity, especially in the wake of a bombshell report that the Golden Globes has no Black members in its voting body. Academy president David Rubin seemed to tweak the rival Globes when he described his group as "a diverse community of filmmakers from all over the world." Rubin then handed things over to Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, who read the nominees aloud from London.
Among the year’s unexpected snubs was "One Night in Miami… ," which earned only three nominations, including a supporting actor nod for Leslie Odom Jr., who plays the legendary singer Sam Cooke. The film’s director, Regina King, could have become the first Black woman to appear in her category, but was not nominated. The film was also shut out of the best picture race. Spike Lee’s acclaimed war drama, "Da 5 Bloods," scored only one nomination, for Terrence Blanchard’s score.
One head-scratcher came when "Judas and the Black Messiah," the true story of an FBI informant and a Black Panther leader, earned supporting actor nominations for both its stars, LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya. The double nod would seem to suggest that the film has no lead actor. At any rate, it also made history as the first best picture nominee from all-Black producers.
The Oscars will be broadcast on ABC Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m., from Union Station Los Angeles and the ceremony’s traditional home of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Nominees in major categories:
Best picture: "The Father"; "Judas and the Black Messiah"; "Mank"; "Minari"; "Nomadland"; "Promising Young Woman"; "Sound of Metal"; "The Trial of the Chicago 7."
Best actor: Chadwick Boseman, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"; Riz Ahmed, "Sound of Metal"; Anthony Hopkins, "The Father"; Gary Oldman, "Mank"; Steven Yeun, "Minari."
Best actress: Carey Mulligan, "Promising Young Woman"; Frances McDormand, "Nomadland"; Viola Davis, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"; Vanessa Kirby, "Pieces of a Woman"; Andra Day, "The United States vs. Billie Holiday."
Best supporting actor: Sacha Baron Cohen, "The Trial of the Chicago 7"; Leslie Odom Jr., "One Night in Miami..."; Daniel Kaluuya, "Judas and the Black Messiah"; Paul Raci, "Sound of Metal"; LaKeith Stanfield, "Judas and the Black Messiah."
Best supporting actress: Maria Bakalova, "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm"; Glenn Close, "Hillbilly Elegy"; Olivia Colman, "The Father"; Amanda Seyfried, "Mank"; Yuh-Jung Youn, "Minari."
Best director: Chloé Zhao, "Nomadland"; Lee Isaac Chung, "Minari"; David Fincher, "Mank"; Emerald Fennell, "Promising Young Woman"; Thomas Vinterberg, "Another Round."
International film: "Quo Vadis, Aida?", Bosnia and Herzegovina; "Another Round," Denmark ; "Better Days," Hong Kong; "Collective," Romania; "The Man Who Sold His Skin," Tunisia.