'Everything Everywhere' tops Oscar nominations with 11
The sleeper hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” outpaced expectations with 11 nods when Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning, making the oddball indie comedy one of last year’s biggest success stories. Its nominations included best picture, best actress for Michelle Yeoh — a first for an Asian woman — and achievement in directing for the duo of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
“All Quiet on the Western Front,” a German film based on the classic novel about World War I, received nine nods, tying for second place with “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh’s wry rumination on friendship. “Elvis,” Baz Luhrmann’s biopic about the King of Rock and Roll, made a strong third-place showing with eight nominations. Those films will also compete for best picture, while McDonagh will compete in the directing and original screenplay categories.
The nominations went some way in showing that the Oscars want to stay in sync with the average moviegoer, even after nearly three years of a pandemic that shut down cinemas and kept homebound viewers glued to small screens. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which bestows the Oscars, has long been criticized for snubbing popular hits in favor of critical darlings, and some of its mid-pandemic choices — such as 2020’s somber “Nomadland” for best picture and Anthony Hopkins for best actor in the little-seen drama “The Father” — only reinforced the perception. That shifted slightly last year when the feel-good favorite “CODA,” about a hearing teenager in a deaf family, took home three awards, including best picture.
Like “CODA,” which earned strong word-of-mouth after premiering on Apple TV+, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was a grassroots hit, opening in art-house cinemas during a typically slow March and then snowballing in popularity until it earned a rerelease in IMAX theaters nationwide. The film — which runs well over two hours, covers multiple genres and features Yeoh as a woman whose attempt to file her tax returns leads her on a multi-cosmos search for meaning — is the unlikeliest of hits. Yet it earned $104 million at the box office on a reported budget of $25 million.
A couple of even flashier blockbusters also fared well at Tuesday’s announcements. “Top Gun: Maverick,” the Tom Cruise sequel that made nearly $1.5 billion and restored hope to an ailing movie industry, took home six nominations, including best picture. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” got five nods, including original song (Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up”), but did not make it to the best picture race. Still, Angela Bassett, who earned a supporting actress nod as Queen Ramonda, marked a milestone: She is now the first person to earn an Oscar nomination for acting in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
The leading acting races generally shaped up as two-person contests. For leading actress, it’s likely Cate Blanchett as a fearsome orchestra conductor in “Tár,” versus Yeoh. For leading actor, it’s likely Brendan Fraser in a widely acclaimed comeback performance as a morbidly obese recluse in “The Whale,” versus Colin Farrell as an Irish villager in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” These are the first Oscar nominations for both.
Elsewhere, there were a few surprises among Tuesday’s nominations. Paul Mescal landed in the best actor category for his performance as a depressed father in the art-house drama “Aftersun,” and Andrea Riseborough received a best actress nod as a destitute alcoholic in “To Leslie,” a film that went all but unseen this past October (it earned $27,000 at the box office). “The Batman,” the latest reboot of the Warner Bros./DC superhero, earned three nods, as did “Triangle of Sadness,” a dark satire from Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund.
The Academy Awards might also draw some criticism for the directing nominations. As at this year’s Golden Globes, the category is entirely male. That’s despite a year that saw many high-profile titles from female directors, including “The Woman King,” “She Said,” “Till” and “Women Talking.”
The Oscars will be handed out on March 12.
AND THE NOMINEES ARE
Best picture: "All Quiet on the Western Front"; "Avatar: The Way of Water"; "The Banshees of Inisherin"; "Elvis"; "Everything Everywhere All at Once"; "The Fabelmans"; "Tár"; "Top Gun: Maverick"; "Triangle of Sadness"; "Women Talking"
Best director: Martin McDonagh, "The Banshees of Inisherin"; Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"; Steven Spielberg, "The Fabelmans"; Todd Field, "Tár"; Ruben Östlund, "Triangle of Sadness"
Best actor: Brendan Fraser, "The Whale"; Colin Farrell, "The Banshees of Inisherin"; Austin Butler, "Elvis"; Bill Nighy, "Living"; Paul Mescal, "Aftersun"
Best actress: Ana de Armas, "Blonde"; Cate Blanchett, "Tár"; Andrea Riseborough, "To Leslie"; Michelle Williams, "The Fabelmans"; Michelle Yeoh, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"
Best supporting actor: Brian Tyree Henry, "Causeway"; Judd Hirsch, "The Fabelmans"; Brendan Gleeson, "The Banshees of Inisherin"; Barry Keoghan, "The Banshees of Inisherin"; Ke Huy Quan, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"
Best supporting actress: Angela Bassett, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"; Hong Chau, "The Whale"; Kerry Condon, "The Banshees of Inisherin"; Stephanie Hsu, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"; Jamie Lee Curtis, "Everything Everywhere All at Once"