“Roma” and “The Favourite” took the lead in the Oscar race, receiving 10 nominations each, including best picture and best lead actress, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees on Tuesday.
In a coup for Netflix , “Roma” became the streaming service’s first best-picture nominee, overcoming debate over whether a film without a significant big-screen release belongs in that category. Netflix launched a major promotional blitz for the black-and-white Spanish-language movie, the story of a live-in maid in 1970s Mexico City inspired by the domestic worker who helped raise director Alfonso Cuarón in his native Mexico.
“The Favourite” also racked up 10 nods. A period piece about a doddering Queen Anne whose power and romantic affections are sought by the two women who attend to her, the movie received nominations in technical categories and for all three of the actresses.
“Roma” also picked up two acting nominations, with Yalitza Aparicio for best actress and Marina de Tavira for supporting actress.
Mr. Cuarón picked up nominations for directing and original screenplay for “Roma,” which also was nominated for best foreign film. “The Favourite” picked up a directing nod, for Yorgos Lanthimos, and it is in the running for best original screenplay.
“Black Panther” became the first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture. Rounding out this category, which this year includes eight nominees: “BlacKkKlansman,” a drama based on the true story of a black police detective who infiltrates a local branch of the Ku Klux Klan in 1970s Colorado; “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Queen biopic; “Green Book,” about a white chauffeur and the black pianist who hires him on a concert tour through the Jim Crow South; “A Star Is Born,” the third remake of the 1937 film; “Vice,” the Dick Cheney satirical biopic; “Roma”; and “The Favourite.”
Spike Lee, whose breakthrough film “Do the Right Thing” came out 30 years ago, secured his first directing nomination with “BlacKkKlansman.” Other directing nominees include Adam McKay for “Vice” and Pawel Pawlikowski for the European postwar love story “Cold War.” Mr. Lanthimos was nominated for “The Favourite” and Mr. Cuarón for “Roma.”
Directing snubs included Ryan Coogler for “Black Panther,” Bradley Cooper, who made his directorial debut with “A Star Is Born,” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” director Barry Jenkins, whose previous movie “Moonlight” won best picture in 2017. No women were among the directing nominees.
Glenn Close received her seventh Oscar nomination with a best-actress nod for “The Wife,” about a woman who questions her life’s choices as the spouse of a great novelist. The 71-year-old performer has never won an Academy Award. In addition to Ms. Aparicio for “Roma,” Olivia Colman received a nod for “The Favourite,” Lady Gaga for her first major movie role in “A Star Is Born” and Melissa McCarthy as the biographer turned literary forger Lee Israel in “Can You Ever Forgive Me.”
Oscar watchers have predicted a tight race for lead actor between two of Tuesday’s nominees: Mr. Cooper for his performance as an alcoholic and drug-addicted rocker dazzled by a young talent in “A Star Is Born” and Christian Bale, noted for his physical transformation into the former vice president in “Vice.” Rami Malek also received a nod for his turn as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” for which he won the Golden Globe for lead actor in a drama. Other nominees include Viggo Mortensen, who plays the Italian-American tough guy in “Green Book,” and Willem Dafoe for his performance as Vincent van Gogh in “At Eternity’s Gate.”
Regina King, a favorite for best supporting actress, leads the nominees in that category with her performance as a fiercely loyal mother in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” an adaptation of the James Baldwin novel set in 1970s Harlem. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone also were nominated for their portrayals of dueling 18th-century power seekers in “The Favourite,” along with Ms. de Tavira as the upper-middle class matriarch in “Roma.” Amy Adams, who has never won an Oscar, picked up her sixth nomination for her turn as Lynne Cheney in “Vice.”
For supporting actor, another favorite, Mahershala Ali, was nominated for his performance as pianist Don Shirley in “Green Book.” Mr. Ali won the award in this category in 2017 for “Moonlight.” There were three first-time nominees: Adam Driver for his turn as an undercover cop in “BlacKkKlansman,” and veteran actors Sam Elliott, as the big brother-manager in “A Star Is Born,” and Richard E. Grant, as the waggish accomplice in “Can You Ever Forgive Me.” Sam Rockwell, who won in the category last year for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” was nominated for his performance as former president George W. Bush in “Vice.”
Oscars viewership plunged to a record low of 26.5 million viewers last year, down 19% from 2017, according to Nielsen. The awards ceremony was thrown into turmoil last month when comedian Kevin Hart pulled out as host, following criticism over antigay remarks he made in past social-media posts. The Academy hasn’t announced another host.
The 91st Academy Awards is scheduled to air on Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.
Write to Ellen Gamerman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Appeared in the January 23, 2019, print edition.