Movies About Women Lead This Year’s Oscar Race

Still, the overwhelmingly male academy shut out female directors altogether

Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards are out, and the most-nominated films of the year are Roma and The FavouriteEach film picked up 10 nods, including a spot among the eight selections for Best Picture. And while both films were directed by men, each movie centers on women, making them a departure from awards fare of many previous years.

Roma is filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical look at the lives of women, particularly domestic workers, in 1970s Mexico. The film, which is in Spanish and was made on location in Mexico, is also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Its star, Yalitza Aparicio, who plays a maid named Cleo, is only the fourth Latina to ever be nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and the first in 14 years. Marina de Tavira, who plays Cleo’s employer, Sophia, is also nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The film was distributed by Netflix, marking the first time that the streaming service has had an original film vying for the top spot at the Oscars.

On the surface, The Favourite is more similar to the kinds of monarchy-fixated historical costume epics that are typically associated with big awards–but the similarity is superficial. For one, it’s a comedy–a category that rarely fares well in the Best Picture category. But perhaps more distinctive about the story of two cousins competing for the favor of Queen Anne is that male characters in the film are generally beside the point and largely made to look bafoonish. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz snagged noms for Best Supporting Actress, and Olivia Colman is a favorite (OK, favourite) to win Best Actress.

While the awards seem to be celebrating depictions of femalecentric stories on screen, there was no big movement for celebrating female makers of those films. Zero female directors were nominated this year (again), and only two female writers appear in the screenplay awards, both of them co-nominated with male collaborators. Can You Ever Forgive Me? picked up nominations in multiple categories, but nothing for director Marielle Heller. One of the Best Documentary Film nominees, Free Solo, was co-directed by Elizabeth Chai.

Despite years of insistence by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that it is focused on promoting diversity in its ranks, there is still a lot of work to do. According to Vox, even after two years of inviting unprecedented numbers of women and people of color to join the organization, the current membership stands at just 31 percent female and 16 percent nonwhite.

Other 2019 Oscar contenders include A Star Is Born, Bradley Cooper’s rockist remake of a remake of a remake (and that’s if you don’t consider the 1937 version a remake of 1932’s What Price Hollywood?) featuring Lady Gaga, which had basked in the glow of early awards buzz, but only came in with eight, the same number as Dick Cheney biopic Vice. Black Panther scooped seven and BlacKkKlansman six.

Among Black Panther’s nominees is Kendrick Lamar, with a Best Original Song nomination for “All the Stars.” Should he win, he’ll be in an extremely exclusive club of people who have won a Pulitzer, Oscar, and Grammy (the coveted “POG” rather than “EGOT”). His only living peer on that front: Stephen Sondheim.

The 2019 Oscars will take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on February 24, with a telecast on ABC. As of now, there has been no announcement of a formal host for the evening; instead this year’s ceremony is expected to rely more on skits, musical numbers, and short appearances by a variety of stars.

Best motion picture of the year

Black Panther
Bohemian Rhapsody
The Favourite
Green Book
A Star Is Born

Performance by an actor in a leading role

Christian Bale in Vice
Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born
Willem Dafoe in At Eternity’s Gate
Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen in Green Book

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

Mahershala Ali in Green Book
Adam Driver in BlacKkKlansman
Sam Elliott in A Star Is Born
Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Rockwell in Vice

Performance by an actress in a leading role

Yalitza Aparicio in Roma
Glenn Close in The Wife
Olivia Colman in The Favourite
Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born
Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

Amy Adams in Vice
Marina de Tavira in Roma
Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone in The Favourite
Rachel Weisz in The Favourite

Best animated feature film of the year

Incredibles 2, Brad Bird, John Walker and Nicole Paradis Grindle
Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales and Jeremy Dawson
Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda and Yuichiro Saito
Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Clark Spencer
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

Achievement in cinematography

Cold War, Łukasz Żal
The Favourite, Robbie Ryan
Never Look Away, Caleb Deschanel
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
A Star Is Born, Matthew Libatique

Achievement in costume design

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Mary Zophres
Black Panther, Ruth Carter
The Favourite, Sandy Powell
Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy Powell
Mary Queen of Scots, Alexandra Byrne

Achievement in directing

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee
Cold War, Paweł Pawlikowski
The Favourite, Yorgos Lanthimos
Roma, Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Adam McKay

Best documentary feature

Free Solo, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill
Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross, Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim
Minding the Gap, Bing Liu and Diane Quon
Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki, Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme and Tobias N. Siebert
RBG, Betsy West and Julie Cohen

Best documentary short subject

Black Sheep, Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn
End Game, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Lifeboat, Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser
A Night at The Garden, Marshall Curry
Period. End of Sentence. Rayka Zehtabchi and Melissa Berton

Achievement in film editing

BlacKkKlansman, Barry Alexander Brown
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Ottman
The Favourite, Yorgos Mavropsaridis
Green Book, Patrick J. Don Vito
Vice, Hank Corwin

Best foreign language film of the year

Capernaum, Lebanon
Cold War, Poland
Never Look Away, Germany
Roma, Mexico
Shoplifters, Japan

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

Border, Göran Lundström and Pamela Goldammer
Mary Queen of Scots, Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks
Vice, Greg Cannom, Kate Biscoe and Patricia DeHaney

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original score)

Black Panther, Ludwig Goransson
BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard
If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell
Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (original song)

“All The Stars” from Black Panther
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
“I’ll Fight” from RBG
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Shallow” from A Star Is Born
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

Achievement in production design

Black Panther, Production Design: Hannah Beachler; Set Decoration: Jay Hart
The Favourite, Production Design: Fiona Crombie; Set Decoration: Alice Felton
First Man, Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas
Mary Poppins Returns, Production Design: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
Roma, Production Design: Eugenio Caballero; Set Decoration: Bárbara Enríquez

Best animated short film

Animal Behaviour, Alison Snowden and David Fine
Bao, Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb
Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall and Nuria González Blanco
One Small Step, Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas
Weekends, Trevor Jimenez

Best live action short film

Detainment, Vincent Lambe and Darren Mahon
Fauve, Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon
Marguerite, Marianne Farley and Marie-Hélène Panisset
Mother, Rodrigo Sorogoyen and María del Puy Alvarado
Skin, Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman

Achievement in sound editing

Black Panther, Benjamin A. Burtt and Steve Boeddeker
Bohemian Rhapsody, John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone
First Man, Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
A Quiet Place, Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
Roma, Sergio Díaz and Skip Lievsay

Achievement in sound mixing

Black Panther, Steve Boeddeker, Brandon Proctor and Peter Devlin
Bohemian Rhapsody, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin and John Casali
First Man, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Ai-Ling Lee and Mary H. Ellis
Roma, Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan and José Antonio García
A Star Is Born, Tom Ozanich, Dean Zupancic, Jason Ruder and Steve Morrow

Achievement in visual effects

Avengers: Infinity War, Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl and Dan Sudick
Christopher Robin, Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones and Chris Corbould
First Man, Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm
Ready Player One, Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler and David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars Story, Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Dominic Tuohy

Adapted screenplay

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
BlacKkKlansman, Written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
If Beale Street Could Talk Written for the screen by Barry Jenkins
A Star Is Born, Screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

Original screenplay

The Favourite, Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
First Reformed, Written by Paul Schrader
Green Book, Written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Roma, Written by Alfonso Cuarón
Vice, Written by Adam McKay

RELATED: The Last Time the Oscars Didn’t Have a Host All Hell Broke Loose

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