Despite attempts to distract the general public with excitement over Our Margot getting a Best Actress nod, "Is the Australian film industry dead?" is the question Australia is asking itself today after receiving only three nominations at the 2018 Oscars.
They are: Margot Robbie for her role as kneecapping ice skater Tonya Harding, Baby Driver editor Paul Machliss, and veteran editor Lee Smith for Dunkirk. The film marks the fifth instalment in Smith's long running collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, and his best attempt yet at cutting a bloated, overdrawn Nolan epic into something watchable in a single sitting.
Three nods marks a whopping 67 percent drop on last year's nominations, when two Australians were up for Best Picture gongs alone—for Lion and Hacksaw Ridge. The 89th Academy Awards also saw Martin Butler and Bentley Dean become the first Australians ever nominated for Best Foreign Film for their romance Tanna. Nicole Kidman and Mel Gibson scored nods for Best Actress and Best Director, respectively.
This year, it's slimmer pickings.
As a film, I, Tonya has somewhat divided critics, with the New York Times' Manohla Dargis calling it "a winking, eager-to-please, fictionali[s]ed gloss." But Our Margot's performance has been universally praised though as "energetic, vivid and, entertaining." To take out the Best Actress prize, Robbie will have to get more votes than the four other white women nominated—Sally Hawkins, Frances McDormand, Saoirse Ronan, and, of course, Meryl Streep.
For Smith to finally take Oscar gold, he'll also have to get more votes than other people—but those people don't have Wikipedia pages so I can't tell you too much about them. Except for Melbourne-born editor Paul Machliss, who might actually be the underdog story to get behind this year. A longtime TV editor who's worked on every British comedy you've ever loved, from IT Crowd to Peep Show and Fleabag, Machliss only broke into film editing in 2010, cutting together Edgar Wright's previous film Scott Pilgrim Vs the World.
Good luck Paul!!