2021 Oscar nominations: ‘Mank’ leads, Chloé Zhao makes history

(FILES) In this file photo an Oscar statue is seen at the red carpet arrivals area as preparations continue for the 88th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 25, 2016 in Hollywood, California. - Streaming films like "Mank" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7" will battle with frontrunner "Nomadland" for the March 15, 2021 coveted Oscar nominations, setting up the grand finale to an awards season transformed by the pandemic. With most US movie theaters closed all year due to Covid, the Academy Awards have been delayed to their latest-ever date -- April 25 -- while several big-screen studio blockbusters skipped their 2020 releases entirely, leaving an eclectic field of hopefuls. (Photo by ROBYN BECK / AFP)

The Netflix film earned 10 nods on Monday, and for the first time, two women were recognized for directing: Emerald Fennell and Zhao, the first woman of color in the category.

David Fincher’s meditation on old Hollywood “Mank,” led the Oscar nominations on Monday with 10 total nods, including for best picture, director, actor and supporting actress. Voters recognized a diverse set of films, with six nominations each going to “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” “Sound of Metal,” “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The Father.”

All of those films were nominated for best picture, along with “Promising Young Woman.”

For the first time, the Academy nominated two women for best director, recognizing Chloé Zhao for her work on “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.” That category also featured nods to Fincher, “Minari” director Lee Isaac Chung and, in a surprise, Thomas Vinterberg for his work on the International Film nominee “Another Round.”

The Academy also chose to showcase a diverse group of actors, awarding nominations in the lead actor category to Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Steven Yeun (“Minari”). Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) rounded out the category.

For best actress, the Academy recognized Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”). Also nominated was Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) and Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”).

This has been a year in which streaming took firm hold in Hollywood, thanks to the theater shutdowns caused by the coronavirus. Contenders like “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Mank,” “One Night in Miami” and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” were released by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. Even releases from traditional studios, like Searchlight’s “Nomadland” and “Judas and the Black Messiah,” from Warner Bros., were probably watched by more people on streaming services rather than in the limited number of theaters that could show them.

Netflix once again leads the pack with 35 nominations; last year, it received 24, but walked away with just two wins. This year, the streaming service has three films in the running for best picture: the home-grown “Mank,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” which it acquired from Paramount Pictures. Amazon Studios has “One Night in Miami” in the mix in several categories, along with “Sound of Metal,” and received some love for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” in the adapted screenplay and supporting actress (Maria Bakalova) categories.


The Oscars ceremony, which was pushed back two months because of the pandemic, will be held on April 25.