The surreal sci-fi film Everything Everywhere All At Once topped the Oscar nominations at 11 on Tuesday, as Hollywood officially opened the race for the all-important Academy Awards.
It was followed by the German anti-war film All Quiet on the Western Front and the Irish black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, each receiving nine nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 4, 2022, US actor Tom Cruise arrives in a helicopter for the world premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick!”. aboard the USS Midway in San Diego, California. – The Oscar nominations for a year in which the box office has finally recovered from the pandemic will be announced on January 24, 2023, with Academy voters expected to reward blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick for being helped save the film theater. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)
As expected, Academy voters also rewarded blockbusters like Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water for helping to bring audiences back to theaters in the wake of the pandemic.
Both were nominated for Best Picture, Tinseltown’s most coveted award, though another crowd favorite – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – missed out.
The remaining Best Picture spots went to rock-and-roll biopic Elvis, Steven Spielberg’s quasi-memoir The Fabelmans, Cate Blanchett’s latest masterpiece Tar, Cannes festival winner Triangle of Sadness and a literary adaptation “Women talk.”
The absurdist indie film Everything Everywhere All At Once portrays a Chinese-American immigrant family undergoing a tax audit who quickly becomes embroiled in an interdimensional battle to save the multiverse from a powerful villain.
It became a huge word of mouth hit and has grossed over $100 million worldwide.
The film received four acting nominations for its cast, including best supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan — who appeared as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom almost four decades ago — and best actress for Michelle Yeoh.
Yeoh is only the second Asian woman to be nominated for a Leading Actress in 95 years of Oscar history and will compete with two-time Oscar winner Blanchett for the award.
Elsewhere, however, there was controversy in the leading actress category, as no black women were nominated, although Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) were considered front-runners.
Instead, the remaining spots went to Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and Andrea Riseborough for the diminutive indie film To Leslie, which launched an unusual, later celebrity-backed campaign for its star .
– International voters –
In the other individual categories, Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Austin Butler (“Elvis”) are clear favorites for best actor.
The remaining nominations went to Paul Mescal in “Aftersun” and Bill Nighy in “Living”.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made Angela Bassett the first star in a Marvel superhero film to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Spielberg made the shortlist for best director, but no women were nominated in that category, which quickly sparked backlash on social media.
Ahead of the nominations, Variety Senior Awards Editor Clayton Davis told AFP this is one of the more unpredictable Oscar races, in part due to the recent massive spike in the number of international Academy voters.
These members have been credited with surprises like South Korea’s “Parasite” for best picture in 2020.
This year, they’ve lined up behind All Quiet on the Western Front, which is distributed by Netflix.
World War II drama All Quiet on the Western Front has been building momentum, earning a massive 14 nominations for the UK BAFTAs last week.
– ‘Saved Movies’ –
Actors Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) and Allison Williams (“Girls”) revealed the Oscar nominations early Tuesday morning from Los Angeles.
Television ratings for awards shows, including the Oscars, have been falling as academy voters have honored lesser-known indie hits like “Nomadland” and “CODA” in recent years.
Many in the industry were hoping for a healthy spread of nominations among 2022’s critically acclaimed sequels, much needed as giants like Cineworld, the world’s second largest cinema chain, filed for bankruptcy protection.
James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar: The Way of Water, which surpassed $2 billion worldwide last weekend, received four nominations including Best Picture, Production Design, Sound and Visual Effects.
Top Gun: Maverick, Cruise’s long-awaited sequel to his 1986 hit, which hit theaters in May during the most uncertain times and grossed around $1.5 billion, received six – best picture, editing, song, sound , visual effects and adapted screenplay.
“This is the one that feels like it could actually win best picture,” Davis said before the announcement.
“What better story the day after the Oscars aired than the movie that saved movies winning Best Picture? That’s a good story to tell.”
© Agence France-Presse