Academy Awards 2020

Joker leads race for Oscars

The film is nominated in 11 categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director

Actor Joaquin Phoenix (right) and director Todd Phillips (left) on the set of Joker. They are in the running for Best Actor and Best Director Oscars.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix (right) and director Todd Phillips (left) on the set of Joker. They are in the running for Best Actor and Best Director Oscars. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Joker, the movie based on the comic-book villain, stole away with the most nominations on Monday with 11 nods, the most of any film.

While the origin story of the anti-hero was expected to do well, few expected a haul of this size.

It gained nods in the predicted categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Director for Todd Phillips, but grabbed more in other categories, such as Cinematography, Original Score and Film Editing.

Overall, Hollywood once again showed that it is ruled by the major studios and insiders when it largely shut out films made by those outside the system.

South Korean actor Song Kang-ho, who plays the wily patriarch of the poor Kim family in dark comedy Parasite, failed to secure a supporting actor nomination, despite rave reviews for his work.

But the biggest loser of the day is the drama-comedy The Farewell, from Chinese-American film-maker Lulu Wang.

The film was tipped to do well in the major categories, including Best Picture, Best Leading Actress for Awkwafina, Best Supporting Actress for Zhao Shuzhen, Best Original Screenplay and even a dark horse chance of a Best Director nod for Wang.

The indie production failed to secure a nomination in any category.

Making it more of a shock is how Awkwafina just a week ago won the Golden Globe in the Best Actress - Motion Picture Comedy or Musical category.

The major exception to nonHollywood films faring poorly is Parasite. Despite its handicap as a "foreign language" film - which means the mostly American Oscar voters have to watch it with subtitles - and Song's overlooked performance, it made deep inroads into the major categories.

As expected, it scored nods in the Best Director, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and International Feature Film (formerly called Best Foreign Language) categories, to which more were added in the Production Design and Editing categories, for a total of six nominations.

Director Bong Joon-ho's Parasite is the first South Korean movie nominated for a Best Picture Oscar; it had been the first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Little Women, the critically acclaimed adaptation of the classic novel, had its director Greta Gerwig shut out of the Best Director roll call. With her absence, that category is now all-male.

Coming after Joker's 11 nominations are Martin Scorsese's The Irishman, Sam Mendes' 1917 and Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, forming a three-way tie with 10 nods each.

The winners of the 92nd Academy Awards will be announced the night of Feb 9 in Los Angeles (Feb 10 morning in Singapore).

List of nominees


• Ford V Ferrari

• The Irishman

• Jojo Rabbit

• Joker

• Little Women

• Marriage Story

• 1917

• Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

• Parasite


• Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

• Todd Phillips, Joker

• Sam Mendes, 1917

• Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

• Bong Joon-ho, Parasite


• Cynthia Erivo, Harriet

• Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

• Saoirse Ronan, Little Women

• Charlize Theron, Bombshell

• Renee Zellweger, Judy


• Antonio Banderas, Pain And Glory

• Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

• Adam Driver, Marriage Story

• Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

• Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes


• Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

• Laura Dern, Marriage Story

• Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

• Florence Pugh, Little Women

• Margot Robbie, Bombshell


• Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

• Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes

• Al Pacino, The Irishman

• Joe Pesci, The Irishman

• Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood


• How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

• I Lost My Body

• Klaus

• Missing Link

• Toy Story 4


• The Irishman

• Jojo Rabbit

• Joker

• Little Women

• The Two Popes


• Knives Out

• Marriage Story

• 1917

• Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

• Parasite


"I've been able to work with some amazing directors. Quentin is in the lineage of one of the best of our times. It's amazing to be a part of this film that's a celebration of our actors and a celebration of the countless people behind the scenes."

Leonardo DiCaprio, in the running for Best Actor for Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood

"It makes me feel very, very, very young."

Antonio Banderas, on being a first-time nominee at 59 - Best Actor for Pain And Glory

"They're probably more interested in me taking them to the park with their scooters, or making a fort, or playing in a teepee. I'd be worried if my four-year-old was thinking, 'What are we going to do about these Nazis?' "

Director Taika Waititi, on whether his daughters are old enough to be aware of his film Jojo Rabbit, on intolerance in Adolf Hitler's Germany, and its Oscar nominations

"We never thought we would be in the awards conversation. This is so meaningful because this nomination comes during such a strong year of writing."

Rian Johnson, director of Knives Out

"This movie was a labour of love for many people... so to see it recognised in this way is very moving for all of us. I would like to thank the academy on behalf of... every single person who put his heart and soul into this film. Thank you."

Director Sam Mendes, on 1917

"Greta made something so special that I'm just thankful to have been a part of, let alone nominated for. Thank you to my academy peers for loving and appreciating this film that is so close to my heart."

Saoirse Ronan, nominated for Best Actress for Little Women


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2020, with the headline 'Joker leads race for Oscars'. Subscribe