The 2019 Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning, and one Hollywood film with local ties continued to assert itself as a major player this awards season, despite the controversy surrounding it.
“Green Book,” a comedy-drama about the unlikely friendship between a black concert pianist (Mahershala Ali) and the white driver (Viggo Mortensen) hired to safely escort him through a segregated South, was a big contender, scoring five nominations. Rhode Island native and onetime Massachusetts resident Peter Farrelly nabbed a Best Original Screenplay nod, which he shared with co-writers Nick Vallelonga and Peabody native Brian Currie. The film also earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor for Mortensen, Best Supporting Actor for Ali, and Film Editing. (Farrelly did not get a Best Director nomination, but did for the Golden Globes.)
As “Green Book” has picked up steam this awards season, it also has been dogged by controversy. The relatives of Dr. Donald Shirley, the now-deceased pianist played by Ali in the film, denounced the production, with Shirley’s brother calling the film “a symphony of lies.” More recently, earlier this month Farrelly apologized for exposing his genitals “easily 500 times,” including to actress Cameron Diaz, after The Cut dug up a pair of 1998 articles that detailed Farrelly doing so. And Vallelonga, the son of driver Tony Vallelonga who is portrayed by Mortensen in the film, reportedly deleted his Twitter account after numerous people found a tweet about Muslims celebrating on 9/11 that was directed at now-President Donald Trump.
As for other films with local ties, the Oscar nominations were few and far in between. Newton native John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” earned a sole nod for Sound Editing, but missed out on other technical nominations like Sound Mixing and a nod for Best Original Score, which it earned from the Golden Globes.
Also losing out on a Best Original Score nomination was Justin Hurwitz, who composed the music for his Harvard classmate Damien Chazelle’s “First Man.” Hurwitz won both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Score for the Chazelle-directed “La La Land,” and already won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score for “First Man” earlier this year, so his lack of a nomination was a definite surprise.
There was one nominee with local ties in the realm of music, however. Connecticut native Anthony Rossomando, who spent many years in the Boston music scene as a guitarist for garage rock band The Damn Personals, shared a nomination for Best Original Song for “Shallow” from “A Star is Born.” Rossomando co-wrote the tune with Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, and Andrew Wyatt.
The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will air on ABC starting at 8 p.m. EST.