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What to Watch for in Oscar Nominations

Nominees will be announced Monday morning
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2020 12:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Who will be celebrating Oscar morning? Brad Pitt for sure. Jennifer Lopez almost certainly. And very possibly the Obamas, too. Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards, which will begin at 8:18am EST Monday, should bring plenty of star power to the Feb. 9 ceremony—a good thing, too, since the show will for the second straight year go without a host, the AP reports. Thankfully, this Oscar year isn't lacking for drama. Netflix is gunning for its first best picture win and it has at least two contenders, led by Martin Scorsese’s crime epic The Irishman and Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story. But in the lead up to Monday’s nominations, much of the momentum has gone to a pair of movies that exalt the big screen with showmanship and celebrity: Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and Sam Mendes' continuous World War I thrill ride, 1917.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences select anywhere from five to 10 nominees for best picture, depending on how many first-placed votes a film gets. That’s usually meant eight or nine movies. This year, the precursor guild nominations have suggested the sure things are Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood, 1917, The Irishman, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, and Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. That leaves a few slots to be battled out by Joker, Little Women, Ford v Ferrari, Knives Out, Bombshell, and The Farewell. More:

  • The director category will be especially closely watched. Though Greta Gerwig (Little Women) is a possibility, the academy is expected to nominate an all-male field despite a year in which women made significant gains behind the camera. The academy has nominated only men for best director in all but five years; Gerwig was the last woman nominated, two years ago.
  • In the acting categories, Renee Zellweger (Judy) has consistently led the best actress contenders. Should Awkwafina be nominated, she would be only the second woman of Asian descent nominated in the category. (The first, 1936 nominee Merle Oberon, hid her South Asian heritage.)
  • Pitt has a lock on the supporting actor Oscar, which would be his first ever. Laura Dern (Marriage Story) and Lopez (Hustlers) have led the supporting actress nominees. A nomination would be the first for Lopez
  • The best actor category, after a few lackluster years, has been especially competitive, with Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) and Adam Driver (Marriage Story) as the most entrenched nominees in a field including DiCaprio, Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems) and Robert De Niro (The Irishman).
  • Beyoncé will likely add an Oscar nomination to her many honors, for her Lion King song. American Factory, the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, is likely to be among the documentary nominees.
  • The nominations, to be read by Issa Rae and John Cho, will be live streamed on Oscar.com, Oscars.org, and the academy’s social platforms. The second wave of nominees will begin at 8:30am EST and be carried live on Good Morning America.
(Read more Academy Awards stories.)

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