Everything Everywhere All at Once, the action comedy starring Michelle Yeoh as an unsuspecting launderette owner who battles evil by connecting with different versions of herself in parallel universes, heads into this year’s Oscar race the title to beat with 11 nominations.
As well as nods for Yeoh and her supporting co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan, the film is up for best picture, director (for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), costume design, editing, original song, original score and original screenplay.
Yeoh’s nomination makes the Malaysian star the first Asian Academy Award best actress nominee (1936 nominee Merle Oberon suppressed her Indian roots); 2023 also marks a record for the number of Asian actors nominated, with The Whale’s Hong Chau joining Hsu on the supporting actress shortlist.
“I think this is beyond just me,” Yeoh told the Hollywood Reporter after the announcement. “It represents so many who have hoped to be seen in this way, to have a seat at the table, to say, ‘I am of value too, I need to be seen too.’”
Hard on Everything Everywhere’s heels are The Banshees of Inisherin, Martin McDonagh’s black comedy starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson as former friends on a small Irish island, and All Quiet on the Western Front, Edward Berger’s devastating Netflix drama about an idealistic German soldier sent to the trenches.
In the nominations, which were revealed in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, Banshees took nods for best picture, directing, editing, original screenplay, leading actor (for Farrell), supporting actor (for both Gleeson and Barry Keoghan), supporting actress (for Kerry Condon), production design and original score.
“Feels like a huge family outing on the cards,” said Gleeson, while Farrell offered “a heartfelt congratulations to all the lads!”
Meanwhile Berger’s film, which scooped a record-equalling 14 Bafta nominations last Thursday, has no acting nominations, but is recognised in nine other categories, including best picture.
Surprise inclusions on that 10-strong list include Tár, Todd Field’s drama about an imperious conductor, played by Cate Blanchett, which scored a better-than-expected six nominations, as well as Top Gun: Maverick.
The high-octane belated sequel starring Tom Cruise also over-performed with six nominations, including one for adapted screenplay, though there was no fourth nod for Cruise himself.
“This is truly a special moment for everyone involved in Aftersun,” he said. “To be recognised by the Academy is such an insane honour and I’m so utterly grateful.”
Meanwhile, Nighy declared he was “honoured by the Academy’s nomination and grateful for the spotlight it throws upon the film. I was surrounded by assassins and this belongs to them all.”
There were surprises in the best actress field, with Blanchett and Yeoh competing against Ana de Armas for her role as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans and Andrea Riseborough in the little-seen To Leslie.
Riseborough’s inclusion marks a remarkable success for a viral celebrity campaign which has picked up considerable steam over the past fortnight.
Blanchett, Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow, Amy Adams, Jane Fonda and Jennifer Aniston are among those who have gone out of their way to champion Riseborough’s performance as an alcoholic Texan lottery winner in the small drama, which has made less than $30,000 since its muted release last year.
Meanwhile Williams’ nomination, after her recent Screen Actors Guild snub, suggests that Academy voters may feel warmer towards Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical drama than those elsewhere (it was similarly cold-shouldered by Bafta).
The Fabelmans ended up with seven Oscar nominations: best picture, director, original screenplay, actress, supporting actor (for Judd Hirsch), original score and production design.
Just ahead of it, with eight, is Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic, up for six craft awards as well as best picture and best actor.
Other surprises included Kazuo Ishiguro’s screenplay for Living, adapted from Ikiru, the Akira Kurosawa 1952 classic. Should the novelist triumph, it would make him the third person ever to win both an Oscar and the Nobel prize for literature (after George Bernard Shaw and Bob Dylan).
Sam Mendes’s Empire of Light was broadly ignored by voters, including for its central turn by Olivia Colman, although Roger Deakins’s cinematography did get a mention.
Till, Chinonye Chukwu’s acclaimed drama about the mother of Emmett Till, was also shut out, with a much-predicted nod for star Danielle Deadwyler failing for materialise. No space was also found in the same category for The Woman King’s Viola Davis. This means nine of the 10 leading actor or actress nominees are white.
Nine of the 10 are also first-time nominees, the exception being Hirsch, now 87, who was last nominated 42 years ago.
The director of The Woman King, Gina Prince-Bythewood, was also cold-shouldered by the Academy, meaning that this year’s best director shortlist is populated entirely by men: McDonagh, the Daniels, Spielberg, Field and Ruben Östlund, who made the Palme d’Or-winning Triangle of Sadness.
But it was a banner year for Oscar voters celebrating blockbuster hits. As well as the acclaim for Top Gun: Maverick and Everything Everywhere, Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever took five nominations, including for Angela Bassett’s supporting performance and for Rihanna’s original song, Lift Me Up.
Meanwhile Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron’s record-breaking fantasy epic, is up for four Oscars.
The nominations were announced by Allison Williams, of Girls and evil doll hit M3gan, and the British star Riz Ahmed, who starred in last year’s live action short winner and was nominated for best actor in 2021.
Almost 9,500 Academy members are eligible to vote for the 95th annual awards – their numbers swelled considerably after recent efforts to diversify their demographic. Nevertheless, as of 2022, 81% identify as white and 67% are men.
This year’s Oscars will take place on 12 March in Hollywood in a ceremony hosted by talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel, who producers are hoping can help get ratings back on track after a disastrous few years.
Last year’s show was led by three main presenters – Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall – while since 2019, there has been no single host.
Kimmel hosted the show in 2017 and 2018, and won praise for his management of events such as the wrong best picture winner being announced by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and for the spotlighting of the #MeToo movement in his second year.
His 2018 stint attracted ratings of 26.6m; by 2021 that had fallen to 10.4m – a record low for the show. Last year’s ceremony saw that number leap by 58% to 15.4m, thanks largely to Will Smith slapping presenter Chris Rock on stage.
Assuming an event of similar drama does not occur this year, producers are said to be attempting to lure back viewers with a firm anchor, a U-turn on last year’s decision to scrap the live presentation of eight craft awards, and enhancing the red carpet preamble, along the lines of the Met Gala.
This year’s Bafta awards, which take place nearly a month before the Oscars, on 19 February, will also see some changes, with a new venue (the Royal Festival Hall), new host (Richard E Grant) and greater backstage coverage, led by Alison Hammond.