The documentary feature Honeyland, North Macedonia's submission for the 92nd Academy Awards, achieved a rare success in winning nominations for both the Best Documentary and Best Foreign Film categories, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) said on Monday.
Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, the film was shot over three years at a small village some 50 kilometres south of capital Skopje, and follows Hatidze Muratova, a woman described as "Europe's last female wild beekeeper" and her life.
Praised for its poetic visuals, the film was a hit on the festival circuit, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2019, before getting theatrical releases in the US and the UK later that year.
The film is only the second Macedonian film since the breakup of Yugoslavia to get a nomination in the Best Foreign Film category - after the 1994 star-studded feature Before the Rain - and only the third such nomination in 30 years for a former Yugoslav country, along with Bosnia's 2001 feature No Man's Land, which is to date the only winning film from the region in history.
As for other nominees, the thriller Joker, directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Pheonix in the title role, received 11 nominations, including those for best picture, best director, best actor, best adapted screenplay, and best cinematography.
Three other films won 10 nominations each - the World War I epic 1917 directed by Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, and Martin Scorsese's mafia film The Irishman which stars veterans Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.
Once again, the announcements confirmed Netflix as the juggernaut of the entertainment industry, as it received a total of 24 nominations - more than any other traditional Hollywood studio. Apart from The Irishman, Noah Baumbach's comedy drama Marriage Story also received six nominations. A year earlier, Netflix's drama film Roma earned 10 nominations but only won three, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron.
Other films nominated in the Best Picture category include Ford v Ferrari, JoJo Rabbit, Little Women, and Parasite.
Scarlett Johansson scored a rare double acting nomination for best actress and best supporting actress for her work in Marriage Story and JoJo Rabbit respectively.
This year's Academy Awards ceremony will take place on February 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and as was the case last year, there will be no host.