Newsletter: Gold Standard: Oscar races are set ... one month to go

Glenn Close earned her seventh Oscar nomination, for her lead turn in “The Wife.”
(Michael Nagle / For The Times)

Oscar nominations have arrived (finally!), bringing glad tidings to fans of the movie about Dick Cheney, bad news for the documentary about Mr. Rogers and 10 nominations each for “Roma” and “The Favourite.”

Now we can roll up our sleeves and think about what movie will prevail at the Oscars next month.

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.


I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

How the Oscar nominations made history

Marvel Studios earned its first best picture nomination with “Black Panther.” Netflix joined the best picture club with “Roma.” Spike Lee picked up his first nomination as a director for “BlacKkKlansman.” Yalitza Aparicio became the first indigenous woman nominated for lead actress for her beautiful work in “Roma.”

Pull up a chair and, if you have a few hours, you can run down all The Times’ Oscar coverage, including critics’ favorite surprises and heartbreaking omissions, interviews with newly minted nominees Lady Gaga and Rami Malek, and why Glenn Close doesn’t need an Oscar but this year she deserves one.

‘Green Book’ takes Producers Guild’s prize

“When you make ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ you don’t ever expect to get an award,” said producer Peter Farrelly, who also directed and co-wrote “Green Book,” which took the Producers Guild’s top honor Saturday night.

The win represented another high point in “Green Book’s” roller-coaster ride through awards season. The movie has taken top prizes at the Golden Globes and Toronto International Film Festival, but has also been dogged by controversy along the way, including the resurfacing of a controversial 2015 tweet from co-writer Nick Vallelonga that supported Donald Trump’s false claim that Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the destruction of the World Trade Center.

I attended the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, and the “Green Book” love was evident in the room, with one producer even wearing a green dress in the film’s honor. As I noted in my Oscar nominations analysis, there has been, among some awards season voters, a backlash against the backlash.

Did I mention there’s still another 30 days until the Oscars?

“Roma” actresses Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira arriving at the 76th Golden Globes.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Five Oscar nominations that surprised — and how they happened

Parsing the Oscar nominations, everyone loves to focus on the “snubs,”even though these omissions aren’t really pointed slights but just the inevitable outcomes when you have too many worthy candidates for too few spots.

Instead, I like to focus on the surprises, nominations we didn’t see coming — or if I did, they felt like an exercise in optimism.

I wrote about “Roma” actresses Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, longtime Spike Lee collaborators Terence Blanchard and Barry Alexander Brown earning their first nominations, “Cold War” director Pawel Pawlikowski and the love shown toward “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” Perhaps one of the nominees from the Coen brothers’ western anthology will find a better earthly reward than the movie’s title character.


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Twitter: @glennwhipp