The nominees for the Oscars 2019 were released in January and it features the largest division of women contenders in Oscar history. The candidates came together for a group photo on Monday in preparation for the star-studded award show, airing on 24 February. Amongst the nominees were Lady Gaga for her role in A Star Is Born and The Favourite's Rachel Weisz. The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, John Bailey, commented on the diversity of the competitors this year: "This year has the largest class of women nominees. Far from parity, and of course we need to do better. Gender parity is an industry matter, not just an Academy matter."
Lady Gaga at the Oscars luncheon
Lady Gaga was nominated for both Best Actress and Best Original Song for her role in the hit remake A Star Is Born. Alongside the 32-year-old singer in the run for best lead actress are Olivia Colman, Yalitza Aparicio, Glenn Close and Melissa McCarthy.
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Despite the reported increased diversity, the category for Best Director still comprises all-male nominees, including Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) and Alfonso Cuaron (Roma). Failing to nominate females for this category has not gone unnoticed in the past with Emma Stone, who presented the award last year stating: "These four men - and Greta Gerwig - created their own masterpieces this year." It is the 86th time in the 91-year history of the Oscars that women were excluded from this category.
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The 91st Academy Awards faced further criticism in December, when it was announced that comedian Kevin Hart would be hosting the show. Controversy quickly surrounded the decision as a series of previous homophobic tweets by the host were circulated on social media. On 6 December, Kevin decided to resign from the position, tweeting: "I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year's Oscars… this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists." This will be the first time in thirty years that the Oscars will not have a host, with presenters like Jimmy Kimmel (2017, 2018) and Ellen DeGeneres (2007, 2014) fulfilling the role in the past.
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