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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Poor Things? Post-ingenue Oscars 2024 also rings in the Mangenue

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There’s a reason Poor Things starring Best Oscar Actress nom Emma Stone with 11 Oscar nods charts so high among big movies, Oppenheimer with 13 nods, Barbie with eight, and Killers of the Flower Moon at 10 nominations. After #metoo and #timesup, we are officially in the Post-Ingenue Era in Hollywood. Gone is the unsophisticated often preyed-upon female lead. And this is likely why Barbie’s Margot Robbie missed the Best Actress cut this year, while empowered America Ferrera made it for Supporting. (See full list below). But wait, there’s more.

Enter the Mangenue, whereby male leads were lauded in this 96th Oscar race for their oddly endearing innocence. 

Yes, we’re talking about Ryan Gosling’s magical thinking man-child Ken in Barbie, a real mangenue. And there’s Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, who naively believes he can control the impact and half-life of subatomic particles. Only fellow nom Emily Blunt keeps the world at bay for him. Paul Giamatti’s ancient history loving prep school iron-fist believes he can improve his students' lives in The Holdovers, only to find out secrets have been kept from him.

Add Poor Things other nominee Mark Ruffalo, having ditched the He-man Hulk persona, who now plays polar opposite to Emma Stone as the tossed tosser who loses both fame and fortune when his narcissistic naïveté in pursuit of her as ideal woman leads him to ruin.

Perhaps the most sophisticated Mangenue portrayal is Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction, who plays the part of the innocent as he pens a fake masterpiece in the vernacular under a pseudonym only to face his own unpreparedness, even frank dismay, at its runaway success while being shown what time it really is in the American literary landscape. Sterling K. Brown also does a star-turn here as a man hiding his own non-fiction emotional upheavals.

Even the word “ingenue,” so long a fixture of mass entertainment’s visual vocabulary as the female naif waif and plot pivot, no longer fits viewers now. Yet "mangenue" somehow fits perfectly?

Director Yorgos Lanthimos of mind-bender The Lobster has finally smashed that stereotype in Poor Things, whereby LA LA Land’s likable wised-up ingenue becomes a surgical version of a newly incarnated real-life Post-ingenue. Stone’s more than a female science experiment, or a fantasy manic pixie dream girl side-kick as she was in Birdman. Her character in Poor Things stretches every acting muscle to dazzle, disgust, and digest all the incomprehensible facets of human existence. Hence a nomination haul in 11 Oscars categories stack up for this “little” movie.

Perennial favorites, 96th Oscar nominees Jodie Foster and Annette Bening in Nyad, about the open-ocean obsessed record-setting swimmer Diana Nyad, underscore the focus away from the hapless leading lady, as  a pair of determined goal-driven women who help each other to a nearly impossible finish line.

In The Holdovers, Academy Award supporting nominee Da’Vine Joy Randolph shows up for herself as Mary Lamb in a male-centered storyline, where she tips the emotional balance in their favor in her anti-ingenue moments in tandem with fellow nominee Paul Giamatti. Together they complete the collegiate fairytale of love and loss that caters to a brilliant minor, Mangenue Dominic Sessa, whose innocence is not lost on the transit to adulthood.

Next is Bradley Cooper, lauded for Maestro as conductor Leonard Bernstein, who is driven by an unexpected innocence that leads him to believe he can shape the world to his desires without collateral damage to his wife. Played by Carey Mulligan, the high personal price paid by this biopic Post-ingenue is evident as she delivers her best version of odd woman out in Bernstein’s rotating love triangles. 

Then there’s Germany’s Sandra Hüller’s ambiguous Anatomy of a Fall, for which she is nominated, wherein the death of her husband is in play although she is a prime suspect, a fact which does not crush her world as Hüller’s character does not cave in as expected of a wallflower. 

Nominee Lily Gladstone carries Killers of the Flower Moon, although Robert De Niro is also nominated for this Martin Scorsese epic, as she provides all the necessary nuances needed to widen the breadth of this historic retelling. Not to mention the cultural significance, as Gladstone is the first Native American to be nominated for an Oscar, which catapults Post-ingenue women into indigenous territory as a true trend in the ether for now. 

Official Nominations for the 96th Academy Awards

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Bradley Cooper in "Maestro"
  • Colman Domingo in "Rustin"
  • Paul Giamatti in "The Holdovers"
  • Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer"
  • Jeffrey Wright in "American Fiction"

 

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Sterling K. Brown in "American Fiction"
  • Robert De Niro in "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • Robert Downey Jr. in "Oppenheimer"
  • Ryan Gosling in "Barbie"
  • Mark Ruffalo in "Poor Things"

 

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Annette Bening in "Nyad"
  • Lily Gladstone in "Killers of the Flower Moon"
  • Sandra Hüller in "Anatomy of a Fall"
  • Carey Mulligan in "Maestro"
  • Emma Stone in "Poor Things"

 

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Emily Blunt in "Oppenheimer"
  • Danielle Brooks in "The Color Purple"
  • America Ferrera in "Barbie"
  • Jodie Foster in "Nyad"
  • Da'Vine Joy Randolph in "The Holdovers"

 

Best animated feature film of the year

  • "The Boy and the Heron" Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki
  • "Elemental" Peter Sohn and Denise Ream
  • "Nimona" Nick Bruno, Troy Quane, Karen Ryan and Julie Zackary
  • "Robot Dreams" Pablo Berger, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé and Sandra Tapia Díaz
  • "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Amy Pascal

 

Achievement in cinematography

  • "El Conde" Edward Lachman
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Rodrigo Prieto
  • "Maestro" Matthew Libatique
  • "Oppenheimer" Hoyte van Hoytema
  • "Poor Things" Robbie Ryan

 

Achievement in costume design

  • "Barbie" Jacqueline Durran
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Jacqueline West
  • "Napoleon" Janty Yates and Dave Crossman
  • "Oppenheimer" Ellen Mirojnick
  • "Poor Things" Holly Waddington

 

Achievement in directing

  • "Anatomy of a Fall" Justine Triet
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Martin Scorsese
  • "Oppenheimer" Christopher Nolan
  • "Poor Things" Yorgos Lanthimos
  • "The Zone of Interest" Jonathan Glazer

 

Best documentary feature film

  • "Bobi Wine: The People's President" Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp and John Battsek
  • "The Eternal Memory" Nominees to be determined
  • "Four Daughters" Kaouther Ben Hania and Nadim Cheikhrouha
  • "To Kill a Tiger" Nisha Pahuja, Cornelia Principe and David Oppenheim
  • "20 Days in Mariupol" Mstyslav Chernov, Michelle Mizner and Raney Aronson-Rath

 

Best documentary short film

  • "The ABCs of Book Banning" Sheila Nevins and Trish Adlesic
  • "The Barber of Little Rock" John Hoffman and Christine Turner
  • "Island in Between" S. Leo Chiang and Jean Tsien
  • "The Last Repair Shop" Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers
  • "Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó" Sean Wang and Sam Davis

 

Achievement in film editing

  • "Anatomy of a Fall" Laurent Sénéchal
  • "The Holdovers" Kevin Tent
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Thelma Schoonmaker
  • "Oppenheimer" Jennifer Lame
  • "Poor Things" Yorgos Mavropsaridis

 

Best international feature film of the year

  • "Io Capitano" Italy
  • "Perfect Days" Japan
  • "Society of the Snow" Spain
  • "The Teachers' Lounge" Germany
  • "The Zone of Interest" United Kingdom

 

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

  • "Golda" Karen Hartley Thomas, Suzi Battersby and Ashra Kelly-Blue
  • "Maestro" Kazu Hiro, Kay Georgiou and Lori McCoy-Bell
  • "Oppenheimer" Luisa Abel
  • "Poor Things" Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier and Josh Weston
  • "Society of the Snow" Ana López-Puigcerver, David Martí and Montse Ribé

 

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • "American Fiction" Laura Karpman
  • "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" John Williams
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Robbie Robertson
  • "Oppenheimer" Ludwig Göransson
  • "Poor Things" Jerskin Fendrix

 

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • "The Fire Inside" from "Flamin' Hot"
    Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
  • "I'm Just Ken" from "Barbie"
    Music and Lyric by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt
  • "It Never Went Away" from "American Symphony"
    Music and Lyric by Jon Batiste and Dan Wilson
  • "Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)" from "Killers of the Flower Moon"
    Music and Lyric by Scott George
  • "What Was I Made For?" from "Barbie"
    Music and Lyric by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell

 

Best motion picture of the year

  • "American Fiction" Ben LeClair, Nikos Karamigios, Cord Jefferson and Jermaine Johnson, Producers
  • "Anatomy of a Fall" Marie-Ange Luciani and David Thion, Producers
  • "Barbie" David Heyman, Margot Robbie, Tom Ackerley and Robbie Brenner, Producers
  • "The Holdovers" Mark Johnson, Producer
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Martin Scorsese and Daniel Lupi, Producers
  • "Maestro" Bradley Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Fred Berner, Amy Durning and Kristie Macosko Krieger, Producers
  • "Oppenheimer" Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan, Producers
  • "Past Lives" David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler, Producers
  • "Poor Things" Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Yorgos Lanthimos and Emma Stone, Producers
  • "The Zone of Interest" James Wilson, Producer

 

Achievement in production design

  • "Barbie" Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
  • "Killers of the Flower Moon" Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Adam Willis
  • "Napoleon" Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Elli Griff
  • "Oppenheimer" Production Design: Ruth De Jong; Set Decoration: Claire Kaufman
  • "Poor Things" Production Design: James Price and Shona Heath; Set Decoration: Zsuzsa Mihalek

 

Best animated short film

  • "Letter to a Pig" Tal Kantor and Amit R. Gicelter
  • "Ninety-Five Senses" Jerusha Hess and Jared Hess
  • "Our Uniform" Yegane Moghaddam
  • "Pachyderme" Stéphanie Clément and Marc Rius
  • "WAR IS OVER! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko" Dave Mullins and Brad Booker

 

Best live action short film

  • "The After" Misan Harriman and Nicky Bentham
  • "Invincible" Vincent René-Lortie and Samuel Caron
  • "Knight of Fortune" Lasse Lyskjær Noer and Christian Norlyk
  • "Red, White and Blue" Nazrin Choudhury and Sara McFarlane
  • "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar" Wes Anderson and Steven Rales

 

Achievement in sound

  • "The Creator" Ian Voigt, Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn, Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic
  • "Maestro" Steven A. Morrow, Richard King, Jason Ruder, Tom Ozanich and Dean Zupancic
  • "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" Chris Munro, James H. Mather, Chris Burdon and Mark Taylor
  • "Oppenheimer" Willie Burton, Richard King, Gary A. Rizzo and Kevin O'Connell
  • "The Zone of Interest" Tarn Willers and Johnnie Burn

 

Achievement in visual effects

  • "The Creator" Jay Cooper, Ian Comley, Andrew Roberts and Neil Corbould
  • "Godzilla Minus One" Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima
  • "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" Stephane Ceretti, Alexis Wajsbrot, Guy Williams and Theo Bialek
  • "Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One" Alex Wuttke, Simone Coco, Jeff Sutherland and Neil Corbould
  • "Napoleon" Charley Henley, Luc-Ewen Martin-Fenouillet, Simone Coco and Neil Corbould

 

Adapted screenplay

  • "American Fiction" Written for the screen by Cord Jefferson
  • "Barbie" Written by Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach
  • "Oppenheimer" Written for the screen by Christopher Nolan
  • "Poor Things" Screenplay by Tony McNamara
  • "The Zone of Interest" Written by Jonathan Glazer

 

Original screenplay

  • "Anatomy of a Fall"Screenplay - Justine Triet and Arthur Harari
  • "The Holdovers"Written by David Hemingson
  • "Maestro"Written by Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer
  • "May December"Screenplay by Samy Burch; Story by Samy Burch & Alex Mechanik
  • "Past Lives"Written by Celine Song

For a complete description of nominees and their films, see Oscars.org, and look to ABC for the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday, March 10, 2024 to see how the wins pan out.

# # #

 

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

LA Correspondent for filmfestivals.com


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