‘Joker’ Bags 11 Oscar Nominations

Todd Phillips attends the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association/AFP

 

Todd Phillips’s “Joker,” a dark, arthouse take on the comic book villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, on Monday topped the Oscar nominations with 11.

The pre-dawn Academy Award announcement capped months of ceaseless campaigning by A-listers and studios, revealing which stars and movies have a shot at Hollywood’s ultimate prize next month.

Todd Phillips’s “Joker,” a bleak, arthouse take on the comic book villain starring Joaquin Phoenix, was just ahead of three films.

Quentin Tarantino’s 1960s Tinseltown homage “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood,” Sam Mendes’s World War I odyssey “1917” and Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” each earned 10 nominations, including best picture as well as best director.

South Korean class satire “Parasite,” from Bong Joon-ho, secured the final best director slot, meaning once again no female directors made the shortlist.

Much of the focus so far this award season has been on the lack of women and ethnic minority filmmakers honored.

Greta Gerwig’s acclaimed “Little Women” adaptation has been notably absent in several award nominations announcements, although it was one of nine films nominated for the best picture Oscar.

“Unfortunately there are just five nominees” for best director in an “incredibly strong year,” one Academy voter who asked not to be named told AFP, pointing to the revered track records of the likes of Scorsese, Tarantino and Mendes.

Controversy over those omissions, in an industry criticized for its lack of diversity, was fueled at last week’s BAFTA nominations, which were also condemned for overlooking ethnic minorities.

Showbiz legendĀ 

The Oscars picked only one non-white actor — British star Cynthia Erivo, who plays US anti-slavery icon Harriet Tubman in “Harriet.”

Notable snubs included Eddie Murphy for blaxploitation biopic “Dolemite Is My Name,” Jennifer Lopez for “Hustlers,” Awkwafina for “The Farewell” and Lupita Nyong’o for “Us.”

Last year, three of the four acting Oscars went to non-white performers.

Voting for Oscar nominees ended last Tuesday, two days after the Golden Globes.

But Taron Egerton’s Globe-winning turn as Elton John in “Rocketman” was not enough to earn an Oscar nomination in an outrageously competitive best actor field.

Renee Zellweger, who has swept the best actress nominations so far during this awards season, headed the best actress Oscar shortlist thanks to her acclaimed turn as showbiz legend Judy Garland in “Judy.”

Some 9,000 Academy members vote for the Oscars.

In the nominations round of voting, members were asked to rank their top choices only for best picture, and for the categories corresponding with the specific Academy branch to which they belong.

Voting for winners — in which members can vote in every category — begins January 30, closing five days later.

The Oscars will be handed out in Hollywood on February 9.

AFP

‘Terminator’ Tops ‘Joker’ In Battle For North American Box Office

Gabriel Luna (R) and Robert Rodriguez attend the “Terminator: Dark Fate” Screening at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Slaughter Lane on October 29, 2019 in Austin, Texas. AFP

 

“Terminator: Dark Fate” opened atop the North American box office this weekend with an estimated take of $29 million, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations said Sunday, but analysts said that figure fell far below expectations.

After all, the sixth and latest installment in the franchise — reuniting stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton with series creator James Cameron — cost $185 million to make.

The Paramount film has Sarah Connor (Hamilton) fighting to protect a young girl from a deadly Terminator arrived from the future.

The film may have been hurt by head-to-head competition with dark thriller “Joker,” which in its fifth week took in $13.9 million for the second spot in the Friday-to-Sunday period. Joaquin Phoenix plays Batman’s notorious nemesis in the Warner Bros. film.

In third place was Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” at $12.2 million. The film once again stars Angelina Jolie playing the evil sorceress, and adds Michelle Pfeiffer as the scheming Queen Ingrith.

New biopic “Harriet” — the story of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and work to help free other slaves — surprised analysts with its fourth-place finish, earning $12 million.

It was a strong showing for a historical drama. The film has earned a rare A+ CinemaScore rating from audiences, and British star Cynthia Erivo has earned strong reviews for her performance in the title role.

In fifth was United Artists’ computer-animated “The Addams Family,” at $8.5 million. The funny/spooky film features the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Snoop Dogg and Bette Midler.

Rounding out the top 10 were:

“Zombieland: Double Tap” ($7.4 million)

“Countdown” ($5.9 million)

“Black and Blue” ($4.1 million)

“Motherless Brooklyn” ($3.7 million)

“Arctic Dogs” ($3.1 million)

AFP