Diversity in for a win at Oscars 2018

Andrew Carroll investigates this year’s Oscars nominations, and the age-old arguments of relevance and diversity that comes with them

The nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday and many noted the step up in diversity taken by Academy voters in recent years.

In the past the Academy has been criticised for nominating only white actors with relatively few black, Hispanic or Asian actors nominated in the Oscar’s 90 year history.

This year two out of the five nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category, Mary J. Blige and Octavia Spencer, are African American. Blige also picked up the nomination for Best Original Song.


Photography: Andrew Carroll

Director Jordan Peele is nominated for Get Out in the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories; a first for a black director in the Academy’s history. Daniel Kaluuya is also nominated for Best Actor for his role in Get Out and shares a category with Denzel Washington.

Female representation achieved a historic first at the Oscars with the nomination of Rachel Morrison for the Netflix film Mudbound. Greta Gerwig became the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director for Lady Bird.

“Female representation achieved a historic first at the Oscars”

Saoirse Ronan earned a third, to add to her previous two nominations, for Best Actress for Lady Bird. Irish costume designer Consolata Boyle also picks up her third nomination for her work on Victoria and Abdul. Cartoon Saloon continues the Kilkenny studios unbroken record for nominations in Best Animated Feature with one for The Breadwinner director Nora Twomey, the third Irish woman to be nominated this year.

Ireland has done quite well at the Oscars in the last three years with nominations for Emma Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson. “I think it’s fantastic”, said Aoife, a cinema steward at the Irish Film institute. “The fact that nearly all the Irish nominees are women shows how creative Irish filmmakers are regardless of gender”. Martin McDonagh is nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri while Daniel Day Lewis is nominated in his final on-screen role for Phantom Thread.

Many pundits have noted this year’s Best Picture race as being one of the most unpredictable in recent memory. “I’d like to see Call Me By Your Name win”, said Steven Galvin, an editor at FilmBase. “But I think The Shape of Water will scoop it considering it won the Producer’s Guild Award and that it’s nominated 13 times”. Guillermo del Toro’s romantic creature-feature is a favourite of many to win.

Despite the diverse nominees some still expressed disappointment at how certain films were snubbed. Many were surprised at the lack of nods to Wonder Woman and how Blade Runner 2049 only scored nominations in the more technical categories.

The heaviest criticism was levelled at the Animation category. The Lego Batman Movie was seen to be snubbed while the nominations given to critical flops such as The Boss Baby and Ferdinand lead to accusations that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was out of touch.

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