LOS ANGELES : Riz Ahmed : Oscars' first Muslim Best Actor contender. British Pakistani star nominated for 'Sound of Metal'. Netflix's 1930 Hollywood drama Mank led a diverse field of Oscar nominations on Monday, packed with historic firsts but no clear front-runners.

Mnak, about Citizen Kane screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, got 10 nods., including Best Picture, Best director David Fincher and Best Actor/Actress Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried. But most of its nominations were in craft fields like sound design and make-up.

Six nods each were earned by the other Best Picture contenders The Father, Judas and The Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, The Trial of The Chicago 7 and Sound of Metal.

Riz Ahmed, who played the role of a drummer who begins to lose his hearing, charted history by becoming the first Muslim to be nominated in the leading actor category at the Oscars.

This is also the first time that two Asian actors have been nominated in the Best Actor category with South Korean Yuh-Jung Youn of Minari also nominated.

''Never in my dreams did I ever think a Korean actress would be nominated for an Oscar, and I can't believe it's me!'' Youn, who plays a mischievous granny, said.

Nine of the 20 acting nods went to non-whte performers. A record of 76 nominations went to women. For the first time in the Oscar's 93-year history, two women will compete in the five-person Best Director race - long a make stronghold.

They are Chinese born Chloe Zhao for Nomadland about modern van dwellers in the US, and Britain's Emerald Fenell for Promising Young Women.

Oscars at LA train station?

As expected, Netflix led all the outlets with 35 nods, after a year in which coronavirus delayed scores of new releases or sent them to streaming platforms.

The Oscars will be handed out on April 25 in a ceremony that will take place at both the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and, for the first time, at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.Neither the form of the ceremony nor a host has been announced.

The late Chadwick Boseman got a first Oscar nod for his final film Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, while previous winners Frances McDormand and Viola Davis and Vriton's Carey Mulligan, Olivia Coleman and Anthony Hopkins were also nominated.

One notable omission from the top fields was director Spike Lee's Vietnam war drama Da 5 Bloods, which received only one nomination, for Best Original Score. Yet, several other films featuring black stories were recognized, including Soul.

The lineup reflects a drive to recruit more women and people of colour as Academy members after #OscarsSoWhite uproars of 2015 and 2016. [Reuters]


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