Tunisia makes history as 93rd academy awards announced

AP , Ahram Online , Monday 15 Mar 2021

The nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards has been unveiled on Monday

The Man Who Sold His Skin

Tunisia snatched its first ever nomination to the academy awards with the film 'The Man Who Sold His Skin' by director Kaouther Ben Hania, which has been unveiled on Monday to be among the nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards for best international feature film.

The film has been shortlisted with ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ from Bosnia and Herzegovina; ‘Another Round’ from Denmark; ‘Better Days’ from Hong Kong; ‘Collective’ from Romania; and ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ from Tunisia.

David Fincher’s ‘Mank’ led nominations with 10 nods on Monday, and for the first time, two women — Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell — were tipped for best director.

Eight films were nominated for best picture. ‘Mank’ was joined by Fennell’s ‘Promising Young Woman’, Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’, ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, ‘Sound of Metal’, ‘Minari’, ‘The Father’, and ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’.

History was made in the best director category. Only five women have ever been nominated in the category before. Zhao is the first woman of Asian descent to get a nod and is the most nominated woman in a single year in Oscar history. She also got nominations for the film’s adapted screenplay, editing, and production in the best picture category.

The other directing nominees were Lee Isaac Chung for ‘Minari’, Fincher for ‘Mank’, and Thomas Vinterberg for ‘Another Round’.

For performers, it’s the most diverse slate of nominees ever and a far cry from the all-white acting nominees that spawned the Oscars So White hashtag five years ago.

Nine of the 20 acting nominees are people of color, including a posthumous best-actor nomination for Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), and nods for Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), Steven Yeun (Minari), Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah), Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Andra Day (The People vs. Billie Holiday), and Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari).

Davis, who won for her performance in 2016’s ‘Fences’, landed her fourth Oscar nomination, making Davis the most nominated Black actress ever. Yeun is the first Asian-American ever nominated for best actor.

The other nominees for best actress are Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman).

The remaining nominees for best actor are Anthony Hopkins (The Father), and Gary Oldman (Mank).

After a pandemic year that shuttered most movie theaters, the best-picture nominees had hardly any box office to speak of. The Oscars won’t just lack blockbusters, it’s going forward with many movies that have barely played on the big screen at all. That leaves streaming services set to dominate Hollywood’s biggest and most sought-after awards.

Netflix, as expected, led the pack with 35 nominations. The service is still gunning for its first best-picture winner, and this year has two shots in Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7, a movie Paramount Pictures sold off during the pandemic.

Netflix led last year, too, with 24 nominations, but came away with just two wins.

Other streamers were in the mix. Amazon in particular was well represented with Sound of Metal, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, and One Night in Miami.

The nominations were announced from London by presenters Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The Academy Awards would typically have happened by now, but this year were postponed by two months due to the pandemic. They will instead be telecast on 25 April.

The film academy confirmed Monday that the show will be held at both its usual home in the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and the city’s railway hub, Union Station.

In addition to Youn, the nominees for best supporting actress are Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm), Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Olivia Colman (The Father), Amanda Seyfried (Mank).

In addition to Odom Jr., Kaluuya, and Stanfield, the nominees for best supporting actor are: Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), and Paul Raci (Sound of Metal).

The nominees for best documentary feature are Collective, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, and Time.

The nominees for best original song are: ‘Husavik’ from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, ‘Fight for You’ from Judas and the Black Messiah, ‘Io Si (Seen)’ from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se), ‘Speak Now’ from One Night in Miami, and ‘Hear My Voice’ from The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The nominees for best animated feature are ‘Onward’, ‘Over the Moon’, ‘A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon’, ‘Soul’, and ‘Wolfwalkers’.

The nominees for best original screenplay are Judas and the Black Messiah by Shaka King and Will Berson; Minari by Lee Isaac Chung; Promising Young Woman by Emerald Fennell; Sound of Metal by Darius Marder and Abraham Marder; Trial of the Chicago 7 by Aaron Sorkin.

The nominees for best costume design are Alexandra Byrne from ‘Emma’; Ann Roth from Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Trish Summerville from Mank; Bina Daigeler from ‘Mulan’; and Massimo Cantini Parrini from ‘Pinocchio’.

The film academy and ABC will hope that the nominees can drum up more excitement than they have elsewhere. Interest in little golden statuettes has nosedived during the pandemic. Ratings for a largely virtual Golden Globes plunged to 6.9 million viewers, a 64% drop from 2020. Though on Sunday the Grammys managed to break through the Zoom trap that has bedeviled other awards shows.

With the notable exception of fueling streaming subscriber growth, the pandemic has been punishing for the movie industry. Production slowed to a crawl, blockbusters were postponed or detoured to streaming, and thousands have been laid off or furloughed.

But the outlook for Hollywood has recently brightened as coronavirus cases have decreased and vaccines have ramped up. Movie theaters are reopening in the US’ two largest markets, New York and Los Angeles. And several larger movies, including Walt Disney Co’s ‘Black Widow’ on 7 May, are scheduled for May and beyond.

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