Joker leads tight race for Oscars glory

Dark comic book origin story Joker leads Academy Award nominees with 11 nods, but it's a tight race that includes crime epic The Irishman, First World War story 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with 10 each.

Nominations announced by Issa Rae and John Cho

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker, which leads the Oscar nominations with 11 nods. (Niko Tavernise/Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Todd Phillips's much-debated super-villain origin story and R-rated box-office smash Joker tops all films with 11 Academy Awards nominations, while Martin Scorsese's elegiac crime epic The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino's 1960s Los Angeles fairy tale Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Sam Mendes's First World War tale 1917 all trailed close behind with 10 apiece.

Those four are among the nine announced Monday as best-picture nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards:

Best Picture

  • Ford v Ferrari.
  • The Irishman.
  • Jojo Rabbit.
  • Joker.
  • Little Women.
  • Marriage Story.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Parasite.

While Joker was expected to do well Monday, the academy's overwhelming support for a movie that was far from a critical favourite was unexpected. The film's nominations include best actor for Joaquin Phoenix and best director for Phillips.

The results for The IrishmanOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood and 1917 were nearly just as good.

The 10 nominations for The Irishman tied the most for a Netflix film, following Roma last year. Scorsese (a one-time winner) was nominated for best director for the ninth time. The film also won nods for Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and its de-aging special effects.

Al Pacino, centre left, and Robert De Niro, centre right, appear in a scene from Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, one of the lead contenders for the upcoming Academy Awards. (Netflix)

War film 1917 followed up its Golden Globes win and strong opening weekend at the box office with nominations not just for its technical achievement (including Mendes's directing and Roger Deakins's cinematography) but for best screenplay, too.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was also nominated in just about every category it was expected to, including Tarantino for directing and screenplay, best actor for Leonardo DiCaprio and best supporting actor for Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which earned 10 Oscar nominations. (Andrew Cooper/Sony-Columbia Pictures via AP)

For the 87th time, the academy selected all-male directing nominees, despite a year in which women made historic gains behind the camera. The most likely candidate was Greta Gerwig (Little Women), who was the last woman nominated, two years ago for Lady Bird.

"Congratulations to those men," said Issa Rae, who presented the nominees alongside John Cho.


  • Martin Scorsese, The Irishman.
  • Todd Phillips, Joker.
  • Sam Mendes, 1917.
  • Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Bong Joon Ho, Parasite.

Surprising snubs 

There were some surprises. Awkwafina, who was poised to become just the second Asian American nominated for best actress (the first, 1936 nominee Merle Oberon, hid her South Asian heritage), wasn't nominated for her acclaimed leading performance in The Farewell

Most glaringly, Jennifer Lopez, long considered a supporting actress front-runner for her performance in Hustlers, was also denied her first Oscar nomination.

Those oversights left the Oscars with their least diverse field since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the film academy to diversify its membership. The only actor of colour nominated was Cynthia Erivo, the British actress, for her Harriet Tubman in Harriet.

Cynthia Erivo is nominated for her performance as Harriet Tubman in the film Harriet. (The Associated Press)

Actor in a Leading Role

  • Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Adam Driver, Marriage Story.
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.
  • Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes.

Actress in a Leading Role

  • Cynthia Erivo, Harriet.
  • Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story.
  • Saoirse Ronan, Little Women.
  • Charlize Theron, Bombshell.
  • Renée Zellweger, Judy.

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell.
  • Laura Dern, Marriage Story.
  • Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit.
  • Florence Pugh, Little Women.
  • Margot Robbie, Bombshell.

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
  • Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes.
  • Al Pacino, The Irishman.
  • Joe Pesci, The Irishman.
  • Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez earned a fresh Oscar nomination for their track Into the Unknown from Frozen 2. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)

Also overlooked was Frozen 2, the highest-grossing animated film ever; Beyoncé, for the track Spirit from The Lion King; or the hit documentary Apollo 11.

Original Song

  • I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away, Randy Newman (Toy Story 4).
  • I'm Gonna Love Me Again, Elton John and Bernie Taupin (Rocketman).
  • I'm Standing With You, Diane Warren (Breakthrough).
  • Into the Unknown,  Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez (Frozen 2).
  • Stand Up, Cynthia Erivo and Joshua Brian Campbell (Harriet).

Original Score

  • Joker.
  • Little Women
  • Marriage Story.
  • 1917.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Animated Feature Film

  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
  • I Lost My Body.
  • Klaus.
  • Missing Link.
  • Toy Story 4.

Canadian Oscar contenders

Filmmakers Dean DeBlois and Meryam Joobeur are among the Canadians headed to the Oscars.

Dean Deblois, right, is nominated for his film How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third instalment of the popular animated trilogy featuring the voice of fellow Canadian Jay Baruchel. (Arthur Mola/Invision/Associated Press)

Quebec writer-director DeBlois is a best animated feature nominee for How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the final film of his trilogy. Montreal-based Joobeur is nominated for her live action short Brotherhood.

Other Canadians in the running include:

  • Filmmaker Sami Khan, who's originally from Sarnia, Ont., and is based in Toronto, and co-directed the documentary short nominee St. Louis Superman.
  • Sound engineer Paul Massey, born in England but who lived in Toronto (a sound mixing nominee for Ford v Ferrari).
  • Production designer Dennis Gassner, who was born in Vancouver (a past winner up this year for his production design on 1917).

For a second straight year, the Oscars will go without a host.

The 92nd Academy Awards will take place Feb. 9 in Los Angeles at the Dolby Theatre. ABC will again broadcast the show. Viewership last year rose 12 per cent to 29.6 million.

Oscar nominees, continued:

Animated Short Film

  • Dcera (Daughter).
  • Hair Love.
  • Kitbull.
  • Memorable.
  • Sister.

Live Action Short Film

  • Brotherhood.
  • Nefta Football Club.
  • The Neighbors' Window.
  • Saria.
  • A Sister.

Documentary Feature

  • American Factory.
  • The Cave.
  • The Edge of Democracy.
  • For Sama.
  • Honeyland.

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 Chacha.

Sound Mixing

  • Ad Astra.
  • Ford V. Ferrari.
  • Joker.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Sound Editing

  • Ford v Ferrari.
  • Joker.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

International Feature Film

  • Corpus Christi.
  • Honeyland.
  • Les Misérables.
  • Pain and Glory.
  • Parasite.

Production Design

  • The Irishman.
  • Jojo Rabbit.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
  • Parasite.

Film Editing

  • Ford v Ferrari.
  • The Irishman.
  • Jojo Rabbit.
  • Joker.
  • Parasite.


  • The Irishman.
  • Joker.
  • The Lighthouse.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Visual Effects

  • Avengers: Endgame.
  • The Irishman.
  • The Lion King.
  • 1917.
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Costume Design 

  • The Irishman.
  • Jojo Rabbit.
  • Joker.
  • Little Women.
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Bombshell.
  • Joker.
  • Judy.
  • Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
  • 1917.

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Irishman.
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Joker.
  • Little Women.
  • The Two Popes.

Original Screenplay

  • Knives Out.
  • Marriage Story.
  • 1917.
  • Once Upon a Time In Hollywood.
  • Parasite.

With files from The Canadian Press


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