Oscars 2020: On a Scale of Taylor Swift to Gary Owen, How White Were the Nominations?

John Cho (l) and Issa Rae (r) announcing the nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards.
John Cho (l) and Issa Rae (r) announcing the nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards.
Screenshot: Oscars (YouTube)

East Coast privilege was alive and well as West Coasters woke up before the sun rose (at 5:18 a.m.) while the right coast woke up at 8:18 a.m. to hear the nominations for the biggest night in film.


I’ve had my calendar marked to this date for a while, but let’s pause for a minute to talk about that errant time. I sat here wondering, why 5:18? Sure, I knew the time zones of our rather large country play a factor in why LA has to wake up so early, but why not 5:30? Or even 5:20? Thankfully, my actor friend Kevin clued me in on the reasoning, so I’m sharing it with you, too. It makes sense!

The Today Show, GMA, etc. usually throws news to local stations at 8:25 am-8:30 am, 5-6 min to read the first round of nominees plus 2 quick min of analysis by network entertainment reporters,” he wrote in my Facebook comments section. “Leave it on a cliffhanger, then a second round of nominees are read at 8:41a. In television, especially morning television—every min counts. I honestly believe it was split up for more ad revenue because it’s two separate ad time blocks.”

It’s true, the noms are split up into blocks, with half of them starting at 5:18 and the other half beginning at 5:30.

The more you know. *ding*

Okay, on to the noms.

John Cho and Issa Rae chilled at the Saban Theatre to announce the contenders for...yet another unseasoned Oscars.


But, let’s get into some black joy.

“We need to nominate the audience for waking up so early,” Rae quipped. MESSAGE.

I actually squealed in my dark room when I saw/heard Matthew A. Cherry’s name (shoutout to Rae, who voiced a role in his film, for being able to say it...a moment I expected and hoped for). His beloved film, Hair Love was nominated for Animated Short Film. Congrats to Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver (the Executive VP of Creative over at Sony Pictures Animation). Yes, to these black-ass producers!


Understandably, Cherry tweeted the following on Sunday evening, noting how anxious he was. The tweet was followed by a sea of encouraging words. We are rooting for you, Cherry!


Upon finding out the news, you can imagine how amped everybody in their camp must have been. Actually you don’t have to imagine, Cherry shared it with us all.


The Academy followed suit with the Golden Globes instead of the BAFTAs this time because Cynthia Erivo nabbed the Leading Actress nomination for Harriet. She also was nominated for Best Song for the film’s theme “Stand Up” (along with Joshuah Brian Campbell).

Much like the actress category, there was one tinge of color for the Leading Actor: Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory).


Plus, shoutout to our representation queen Scarlett Johansson who can play every single race (and a tree) for scoring TWO nominations in both the Supporting (Jojo Rabbit) and Leading (Marriage Story) categories. *stares into camera*


The 92nd Academy Awards will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on Feb. 9.

Update: 1/13/2020, 10:05 a.m. EST:

American Factory, brought to us by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground also scooped a nomination under the Documentary Feature category.


The Obamas aren’t listed under the nominees, however, as co-directors Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert and producer Jeff Reichert are listed. According to the Academy rules for this category, “two or three persons may be named as nominees, one of whom must be the credited director who exercised directorial control, and the other(s) of whom must have a director or producer credit.”


Thought the Obamas aren’t technically listed, I’m sure they’ll head onstage with the crew should they attend the ceremony and if the doc wins the statuette.



Antonio Banderas is an European who happens to be white, speaking Spanish doesn’t make him a brown Latin American.

Parasite is a Korean movie nominated for best movie, best director and best foreign film, which means it’s going to win best foreign film possibly, that’s a hint of colour.