Mank leads diverse Oscar nominations. Two women in directors race

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LOS ANGELES, March 15 (Reuters) – Netflix’s 1930s Hollywood drama “Mank” led a field of Oscar nominations on Monday that was strong on diversity, with nine of the 20 acting nods going to non-white performers and two women competing in the male stronghold of directing.

“Mank,” about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, got 10 nods, including best picture, director David Fincher and for actors Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried.

It will compete for the top prize in April with dementia drama “The Father,” Black Panther story “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Korean-language drama “Minari, “Nomadland”, #MeToo revenge tale “Promising Young Woman,” Amazon Studio deaf drama “Sound of Metal,” and 1960s Vietnam War courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” – all of which got six nods in total.

Netflix Inc led all outlets with 35 nods after a year in which the coronavirus pandemic saw movie studios delay scores of new releases or send them to streaming platforms.

“In our industry there is nothing more traditional than the Academy Awards, which hopefully sends a sign of hope that we will get out of this. The Oscars are such a sign that normalcy still exists,” Oldman said in a statement.

The Oscars, the highest honors in the movie industry, will be handed out on April 25 in a ceremony that will take place at both the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and, for the first time, at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Monday. The form of the ceremony has not yet been announced.

A record 76 nominations went to women this year, the academy said.

They included Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao for Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland” about modern van dwellers in the United States. British director Emerald Fennell was also nominated for “Promising Young Woman.”

Only one woman, Kathryn Bigelow, has ever won a best director Oscar.

Lead actors picking up nominations included a first Oscar nod for the late Chadwick Boseman for his last film, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” previous winners Frances McDormand and Viola Davis and Britons Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby, Riz Ahmed and Anthony Hopkins.

South Korean actress Yuh-Jung Youn, who plays a supporting role as a cantankerous grandmother in “Minari,” became the first Korean actress to get an Oscar nod. Fellow cast member Steven Yeun and director Lee Isaac Chung, both Korean-Americans, also got nominations for the moving story of an immigrant Korean family trying to start a farm in the United States in the 1980s.

“Never in my dreams did I ever think a Korean actress would be nominated for an Oscar, and I can’t believe it’s me!” Youn said in a statement.

One notable omission from the top Oscar races was director Spike Lee’s Vietnam war drama “Da 5 Bloods,” which won only one nod, for original score.

The nominations, however, were diverse, with several going to non-white actors or stories about Black culture, including “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and animated movie “Soul.”

Eleven actors were first-time nominees, including Bulgarian newcomer Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Andra Day for her lead performance in “The United State vs. Billie Holiday” and Lakeith Stanfield for “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

The diverse lineup reflects a drive to recruit more women and people of color as Academy members after the #OscarsSoWhite uproars of 2015 and 2016, when all 20 of the acting nominees were white. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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