Oscar Nominations: Newcomers Add Diversity Below the Line, but Is It Enough?

Jazz Tangcay

While actors of color were almost fully shut out from Oscar nominations on Monday morning, the craft categories saw a bump in representation and diversity. But is it enough?

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter looked set to make history again with “Dolemite Is My Name.” Carter, who won last year for “Black Panther” and became the first African American to win in that field, earned nominations with the Costume Designers Guild, but missed out on Oscar morning. “Dolemite Is My Name” got shut out in other categories, too, namely Eddie Murphy for best actor.

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Mayes C. Rubeo’s first Oscar nomination for “Jojo Rabbit” sees her becoming the first female costume designer of Mexican descent to land that nomination.

Songwriter and composer Robert Lopez, who nabbed an Oscar for “Coco’s” “Remember Me,” already has made it to EGOT, twice. Lopez has two Oscars, two Emmys, three Grammys and three Tonys. A win for “Frozen 2’s” “Into the Unknown” would see the half-Filipino, half-American add another chapter to the history books.

“Parasite” landed six nominations on Monday morning, including for editing and production design. Jinmo Yang’s editing helped create tension in Bong Joon Ho’s superb commentary on societal differences and Lee Ha Jun built the two contrasting worlds in Bong’s film. The nominations for “Parasite” were a first for South Korea as it became the first film from the country up for best picture and best international film.

Hildur Guðnadóttir’s historic streak continued on Oscar nomination morning as she earned a nod for her work on “Joker.” Guðnadóttir became the first solo woman to win original score at the Golden Globes and became the ninth woman to land a nomination in the Oscar score fields. Of her nomination, she said, “Being invited into this illustrious group of talent and getting to take part in telling this story means the world to me.” But the field remains predominantly white; John Williams, Thomas Newman, Randy Newman and Alexandre Desplat round out the category. According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, of the top 250 grossing films of 2019, women comprised 6% of composers.

Songwriter Diane Warren continued her streak by earning her 11th nomination for best original song. Warren has yet to win in that category.

Editor Thelma Schoonmaker, who has worked with Martin Scorsese since 1980’s “Raging Bull,” earned her eighth nomination for her work on “The Irishman.”

While Disney’s films nabbed three of the five noms for visual effects, Janelle Croshaw Ralla was left out for “Captain Marvel.” Croshaw Ralla was the only female shortlisted in the VFX category. As of 2020, only two women have won Oscars in the visual effects category.

Makeup artist Kazu Hiro, who won the Makeup and Hairstyling Guild Award for his work on “Bombshell,” made Oscar history when he became the first Japanese to win best makeup for “Darkest Hour.” Hiro’s on track for his second win and could make history on Feb. 9 by becoming the second Japanese to take the prize.

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