Australia has only a slim chance of winning an Oscar after Margot Robbie became the sole Australian star nominated for Hollywood’s most prestigious awards.
Super villain origin story Joker was the dark horse, leading the field with 11 nominations including best picture (Todd Phillips) and best actor (Joaquin Phoenix).
But amid the celebrations came criticism as a noticeable trend emerged: The list of names was very white and very male.
“Congratulations to those men,” nominations announcer Issa Rae said, as many believed directors such as Greta Gerwig (Little Women) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell) were a sure thing.
Other notable snubs included Robert De Niro, star of The Irishman, Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, Eddie Murphy for comedy Dolemite is My Name and Disney blockbusters The Lion King and Frozen 2 – both of which were omitted in the animated feature film category.
Australia’s hopes had been set on big names Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette, Eliza Scanlen and Lee Smith – but all fell short of joining Robbie.
The Gold Coast native, 29, is nominated for her performance in Bombshell, which premieres in Australia on January 16.
Robbie is up for best supporting actress for her role as Kayla Pospisil in the biographical drama about two former Fox News anchors who accused then-Fox CEO Roger Ailes of sexual harassment.
Following close behind Joker with 10 nominations each were Netflix gangster movie The Irishman, Quentin Tarantino’s nostalgic Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Sam Mendes’ World War One film 1917.
Those movies, along with race car drama Ford v Ferrari, Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit, classic novel Little Women, divorce drama Marriage Story and South Korean movie Parasite will compete for the top prize.
Streaming service Netflix bagged 24 nominations, including for The Irishman, as well as for Marriage Story, The Two Popes and documentary American Factory.
The nods for Joker – which was controversial for its terrifying portrayal of an isolated loner but took more than $1.4 billion at the global box office – covered all the major fields, including for director Todd Phillips, adapted screenplay, film editing and sound editing.
In acting races, other nominees included Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, Marriage Story stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, and Little Women actresses Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh.
Nearly all the acting nominees were white – Cynthia Erivo got a nod though for her lead role as anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman in Harriet – and all the nominated directors were men.
Much-touted Gerwig missed out with Little Women, although she did get a best adapted screenplay nod.
However, a record 62 women were nominated, almost one-third of the field, said the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Its 8000 members vote on the nominees and the winners.
Social satire Parasite became the first South Korean movie to be nominated in both the best picture and best international film categories.
Director Bong Joon Ho also received a nod for best director.
Stars will hit the red carpet in Hollywood on February 10 (Australian time) for the Academy Awards ceremony.