The multiverse-skipping sci-fi indie hit "Everything Everywhere All at Once" led nominations to the 95th Academy Awards as Hollywood heaped honors on big-screen spectacles like "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" a year after a streaming service won best picture for the first time.
Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s "Everything Everywhere All at Once" landed a leading 11 nominations on Tuesday, including nods for Michelle Yeoh and comeback kid Ke Huy Quan, the former child star of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Released back in March, the A24 film has proved an unlikely Oscar heavyweight against the expectations of even its makers. Yeoh became the first Asian actor nominated for best actress.
"Even just to be nominated means validation, love, from your peers," said an "overwhelmed" Yeoh speaking by phone from London. "What it means for the rest of the Asians around the world, not just in America but globally, is to say we have a seat at the table. We finally have a seat at the table. We are being recognized and being seen."
The 10 movies up for best picture are: "Everything Everywhere All at Once," "The Banshees of Inisherin," "The Fabelmans," "Tár," "Top Gun: Maverick," "Avatar: The Way of Water," "Elvis," "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Women Talking" and "Triangle of Sadness."
Nominations were announced Tuesday from the academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams. If last year’s Oscars were dominated by streaming — Apple TV+’s "CODA" won best picture and Netflix landed a leading 27 nominations — movies that drew moviegoers to multiplexes after two years of pandemic make up many of this year’s top contenders.
For the first time, two sequels — "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" — were nominated for best picture. The two films together account for some $3.5 billion in box office.
Tom Cruise missed out on an acting nomination, but "Top Gun: Maverick" — often credited with bringing many moviegoers back to theaters — walked away with seven nominations, including best sound, best visual effects and best song for Lada Gaga's "Hold My Hand."
Ryan Coogler's "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," made in the wake of Chadwick Boseman's death, also scored five nominations, including the first acting nod for a performance in a Marvel movie: Angela Bassett, the likely favorite to win best supporting actress.
Going by earlier guild nominations, Martin McDonagh's Ireland-set dark comedy "The Banshees of Inisherin" may be the stiffest competition for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" at the Oscars. The Searchlight Pictures film landed nine nominations Tuesday, including nods for McDonagh's directing and screenplay, and a quartet of acting nominations: Colin Farrell for best actor, Kerry Condon for best supporting actress and both Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for best supporting actor.
Baz Luhrmann's bedazzled biopic "Elvis" — another summer box-office hit — came away with eight nominations, including a best actor nod for star Austin Butler and nominations for its costumes, sound and production design.
Though Steven Spielberg’s "The Fabelmans" struggled to catch on with audiences, the director’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale landed Spielberg his 20th Oscar nomination and eighth nod for best-director.
John Williams, his longtime composer, extended his record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person. Williams' 53rd nominations trails only Walt Disney’s 59. "The Fabelmans" marks Spielberg's 12th nomination as a producer for best picture.
In the ultra-competitive best actress race, "Fabelmans" star Michelle Williams was nominated after being passed over by the Screen Actors Guild. The other nominees for best actress are: Ana de Armas, "Blonde"; Cate Blanchett, "Tár" and Andrea Riseborough, who emerged as a late contender after celebrities rallied around her performance as an alcoholic West Texas mother in the little-seen "To Leslie." Notably left out of the category were Viola Davis ("Woman King") and Danielle Deadwyler ("Till").
Only one streaming title broke into the best picture field: The German WWI film "All Quiet on the Western Front." Though Netflix for the first time in years lacks a possible best picture frontrunner, "All Quiet on the Western Front" landed a better-than-expected nine nominations. The streaming service also has the top animated film contender in "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio," which was nominated for best animated feature.
Along with Butler and Farrell, the best actor nominees are: Brendan Fraser, hailed for his comeback performance as an overweight shut-in in "The Whale," Bill Nighy for "Living" and, in a surprise for one of the most critically lauded films of the year, Paul Mescal, for Charlotte Wells' father-daughter tale "Aftersun."
Brian Tyree Henry landed his first Oscar nomination for his supporting turn in "Causeway," in which he starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence. In the supporting actress category, two "Everything Everywhere All at Once" actors — Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu — were nominated along with Hong Chau ("The Whale"), Condon and Bassett.
After the best director category saw back-to-back landmark wins for female filmmakers — Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") in 2021, Jane Campion ("The Power of the Dog") last year — no women were nominated for best director. But in the best picture group, one of the up-for-grabs final slots went to Sarah Polley's "Women Talking," a parable of sexual assault and justice.
The nominees for international film are: "All Quiet on the Western Front" (Germany); "Argentina, 1985" (Argentina); "Close" (Belgium); "EO" (Poland); "The Quiet Girl" (Ireland).
The nominees for best animated film are: "Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio"; "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On"; "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish"; "The Sea Beast"; "Turning Red."
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences will surely celebrate a best picture field populated with blockbusters; according to data firm Comscore, their collective domestic box office of $1.574 billion is the most at the time of nominations ever.
Ratings for the telecast have typically been higher in years with much-watched films as favorites. Last year’s awards had been looking like a comeback edition for the Oscars before "the slap" came to define the ceremony. In the aftermath, the academy banned Will Smith from attending for the next 10 years. Though he could have still been nominated, Smith’s performance as a runaway slave in "Emancipation" didn’t catch on.
But larger concerns are swirling around the movie business. Last year saw flashes of triumphant resurrection for theaters, like the success of "Top Gun: Maverick," after two years of pandemic. But partially due to a less steady stream of major releases, ticket sales for the year recovered only about 70% of pre-pandemic business. Regal Cinemas, the nation’s second-largest chain, announced the closure of 39 cinemas this month.
At the same time, storm clouds swept into the streaming world after years of once-seemingly boundless growth. Stocks plunged as Wall Street looked to streaming services to earn profits, not just add subscribers. A retrenchment has followed, as the industry again enters a new uncertain chapter.
Last year’s Oscar broadcast drew 16.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen, up from the record-low audience of 10.5 million for the pandemic-marred 2021 telecast. This year, ABC is bringing back Jimmy Kimmel to host the March 12 ceremony, one that will surely be seen as a return to the site of the slap.