Oscar nods for ‘Black Panther’ and ‘BlacKkKlansman’

Historic director nomination for Spike Lee

Black Panther
Spike Lee scores his first Oscar nomination as director. He’s shown with John David Washington, who stars in “BlacKkKlansman.’’

BY JOSH ROTTENBERG
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS

One of the more unpredictable Oscar races in recent years finally came into focus Tuesday morning with the announcement of the nominations for the 91st Academy Awards, with two of this year’s eight best picture contenders — “Roma” and “Black Panther” — setting milestones for the film industry.

Alfonso Cuarón’s poetic, autobiographical “Roma” earned Netflix its first-ever best picture nomination, an honor the streaming giant has long coveted even as it has disrupted traditional ways of doing business that stretch back to the earliest days of the film industry.

In all, the film earned 10 nominations, including for foreign language film along with nods for Cuarón’s direction and cinematography, as well as for its two stars, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. (Adding to the overall tally for Netflix, the Coen brothers’ Western “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” earned an unexpected three nominations, including one for adapted screenplay.)

Seven for ‘Panther’

And the Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” became the first comic-book movie to ever land a shot at a best picture trophy, a landmark for a genre that, for all of its importance to Hollywood’s bottom line, has often been dismissed as popcorn fare.

The highest grossing film of 2018 earned seven nominations in total.

The other best picture nominees are Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the gonzo period dramedy “The Favourite,” the racially inflected road movie “Green Book,” the musical drama “A Star Is Born” and the Dick Cheney biopic “Vice.”

Lee makes list

Foreign language films made a particularly strong showing in this year’s nominations, with Cuarón and Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski (“Cold War”) earning directing nominations alongside Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Favourite”) and Adam McKay (“Vice.”).

Among the morning’s surprises, “A Star Is Born” director Bradley Cooper, who had been considered all but a lock for a nomination, failed to make the cut, as did “Green Book” director Peter Farrelly.

King, Ali nominated

In the lead actor category, the nominees include Christian Bale (“Vice”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”).

For lead actress, the nominees are Yalitza Aparicio (“Roma”), Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”).

In the supporting actress category, the nominees are Amy Adams (“Vice”), Marina de Tavira (“Roma”), Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), Emma Stone (“The Favourite”) and Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”).

The nominees for supporting actor include Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”), Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”), Sam Elliott (“A Star Is Born”), Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”) and Sam Rockwell (“Vice”).

Top documentaries

The documentary feature category, which can often be counted on to deliver some headscratchers, brought two this year, as a pair of the year’s most successful docs, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “Three Identical Strangers” were left out.

Two other hit docs — “RBG” and “Free Solo” — made the cut alongside “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Minding the Gap” and “Of Fathers and Sons.”

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