Taika Waititi nominated for Academy Award, Joker leads pack

7:26 am on 14 January 2020

New Zealand film director Taika David Waititi's Jojo Rabbit has been nominated for this year's Academy Awards, alongside Joker, which leads the pack with 11 nods.

Taika Waititi as Adolf Hitler in his new film Jojo Rabbit.

Taika Waititi as Adolf Hitler in his Academy Award-nominated film Jojo Rabbit. Photo: Screenshot / YouTube

It has been nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as Best Editing, Best Production Design and Best Costume Design.

Scarlett Johansson is also nominated for best supporting actress for Jojo Rabbit, as well as for her role in Marriage Story.

Working on Jojo Rabbit has also led Ra Vincent to be nominated for achievement in production design, and Tom Eagles for achievement in film editing.

In a written statement this afternoon, Waititi said he was humbled by the six nominations.

"Thank you to the Academy for embracing JOJO RABBIT and its message. My congratulations and thanks go to the entire cast and crew," he said.

Comic book villain origin story Joker is up for best picture, best director and best actor for Joaquin Phoenix, plus eight other awards.

The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood follow with 10 nominations each.

Britain's Cynthia Erivo, Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce and Florence Pugh are all up for acting prizes.

Pugh, up for best supporting actress for Little Women, put her first Oscar nomination down to "hard work" and persistence.

"You've got to keep on going and hopefully you'll see something at the end of the tunnel," the 24-year-old told the BBC.

Joker's 11 nominations equals its tally at the British Academy Film Awards, whose nominations were announced last week.

At the Oscars, though, at least one acting contender - Harriet star Erivo - will be from a BAME background.

Erivo said Harriet's two nominations were "beyond anything I could have ever imagined" and were "more than a dream come true".

The film's other nomination, for best song, comes for Stand Up, which the Tony-winning actress both sang and co-wrote.

Yet the Oscars are sure to receive some censure for announcing another all-male line-up in its best director category.

Greta Gerwig, nominated for best director in 2018 for Lady Bird, did not make the cut again with Little Women.

Pugh called her omission both "sad" and "hard to navigate". "She is in this film in the writing and the directing [and] in every single performance," she continued.

Only five women have ever been nominated for the best director Oscar and only one - The Hurt Locker's Kathryn Bigelow - has ever won.

Actress Issa Rae pointedly offered "congratulations to those men" as she revealed the nominations alongside actor John Cho on Monday.

Diversity of Oscar nominations

Like Joker, The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are all up for the best picture prize.

The other nominees are Ford vs Ferrari (released in the UK as Le Mans 66), Little Women, Marriage Story and South Korean film Parasite.

Phoenix said he felt "honoured and humbled" by his nomination and congratulated his fellow nominees for giving "inspiring performances that have enriched our art form".

He is joined in the best actor category by Marriage Story's Adam Driver, Once Upon a Time's Leonardo DiCaprio, Pain and Glory's Antonio Banderas and The Two Popes' Pryce.

Erivo's best actress rivals include Little Women's Saoirse Ronan, Bombshell star Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger for Judy.

 Al Pacino,Martin Scorsese and US actor Robert De Niro attend the international premiere of Academy Award-nominated film The Irishman.

Al Pacino,Martin Scorsese and US actor Robert De Niro attend the international premiere of Academy Award-nominated film The Irishman. Photo: AFP

Johansson's Marriage Story co-star Laura Dern is also in the running for that award, as is Bombshell's Margot Robbie.

Pugh and Kathy Bates - up for her fourth Oscar for Clint Eastwood film Richard Jewell - complete the line-up in this category.

Bates - who won the best actress Oscar for Misery in 1991 - thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "for this wonderful recognition".

Brad Pitt is up for best supporting actor for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as is The Irishman's Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Hopkins and Tom Hanks - up for The Two Popes and A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood respectively - are the other supporting actor nominees.

Sir Anthony - who plays Pope Benedict XVI opposite Jonathan Pryce's Pope Francis - said it was "a great honour to be nominated" for his fifth Academy Award.

Hopkins and Pryce nominated for Oscars

Britain's Sam Mendes joins The Irishman's Martin Scorsese, Joker's Todd Phillips, Parasite's Bong Joon-ho and Tarantino in the best director category.

The recently-knighted Sir Sam said he "couldn't be more thrilled" by the nominations for his World War I epic, which he called "a labour of love for many people".

Scorsese also called his mob drama The Irishman "a labour of love", adding: "To be recognised in this way means a great deal to all of us."

Phillips, meanwhile, said he was "deeply honoured by the overwhelming recognition" and paid tribute to "the genius that is Joaquin Phoenix".

 US actor Joaquin Phoenix is up for best actor in Joker, which has received 11 nominations.

US actor Joaquin Phoenix is up for best actor in Joker, which has received 11 nominations. Photo: AFP

Parasite and Pedro Almodovar's Pain and Glory are also up for the international feature film award - previously known as best foreign film.

"Two nominations for #PainAndGlory from Academy Awards. Congratulations team!!! Very excited," tweeted Banderas in both English and Spanish.

Netflix - the subscription giant behind Marriage Story, The Irishman and The Two Popes - has received more than 20 nominations.

These include two nods in the best animated film category, where its films I Lost My Body and Klaus are up against Missing Link, Toy Story 4 and the third How to Train Your Dragon film.

That means there is no room for Frozen 2, whose only nomination comes in the best song category for Into the Unknown.

Elton John biopic Rocketman also gets its only nomination in this category, alongside tracks from Toy Story 4, Harriet and Breakthrough.

That film's song, I'm Standing With You, marks the 11th time songwriter Diane Warren has been up for an Oscar - an award she has yet to win.

Other previous nominees in contention again include John Williams, who earns his 52nd nomination for his score for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

The 87-year-old composer already holds the record for the most Oscar nominations ever received by a living individual.

Also up for best original score are Joker's female composer Hildur Gudnadottir, Little Women's Alexandre Desplat and a pair of Newmans - Randy and Thomas - for Marriage Story and 1917 respectively.

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 9 February.

This year's ceremony, like last year's, will not have an overall host, with a variety of celebrity guests instead introducing each category.

Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody won the most awards last year, picking up four prizes including best actor.

Green Book was named best picture, while Britain's Olivia Colman won best actress for The Favourite.

-BBC/RNZ