Per tradition, after the many (many) months of campaigning — the Q&A’s, the glad-handing, the catered cocktails and specialty screenings — it all came down to the Oscar nominations being read early on a Tuesday morning. And that’s where tradition appears to have ended.
After decades of paint-by-number Oscar darlings that tended to feature the same names and faces on repeat (you know the kind we mean), the class of nominees for this year’s 90th Academy Awards feels like a breath of fresh air. Get Out’s Jordan Peele became the first African-American ever nominated for directing, writing, and Best Picture in the same year (and only the third person of any race to receive all three for his first film); Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman to crack the directing category (on her first solo directorial outing, no less); Dee Rees is the first African-American woman to be nominated for an adapted screenplay; and her Mudbound collaborator Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated for cinematography. Oh, and Logan became the first live-action superhero movie ever nominated in a writing category. Take that, art-house snobs.
Such change did not arrive out of nowhere. In January 2016, after being hammered repeatedly about #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it would be doubling the number of women and minorities by 2020. Just last year a whopping 774 new members were inducted, 39 percent female and 30 percent people of color. It’s not even close to a complete fix — that only raises women in the Academy from 27 percent in 2016 to 28, and minority membership from 11 percent to 13 — but it’s a start. “You’re seeing a systemic problem that has been exposed, and hopefully we’ll rectify it,” one new Academy member told EW last fall. “I think this is a much needed reset.”
Indeed, how else to explain that four out of the five directing nominees are first-timers, while Steven Spielberg (The Post) was left out? (Paul Thomas Anderson is the only returning nominee.) Or that Tom Hanks — Tom Hanks — was left off the Best Actor list, possibly in favor of Daniel Kaluuya’s incredible turn in the sharp, satirical horror movie, Get Out? “What’s the opposite of the Sunken Place?” tweeted a joyful Peele shortly after the announcements. (“Wakanda,” came a clever reply, a nod to the upcoming Black Panther, also starring Kaluuya.)Read More...
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