‘Everything Everywhere’ tops Oscar nominations with 11

Everything Everywhere Oscars
This image released by A24 Films shows, from left, Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
Allyson Riggs/A24 Films via AP

By JAKE COYLE AP Film Writer

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 proven 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, with $287.3 million worldwide — 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 best-picture nomination as a producer.

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 a host of 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, including best international film and best adapted screenplay. The streaming service also has the top animated film contender in “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” which was nominated for best animated feature alongside “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “The Sea Beast” and “Turning Red.”

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.

Quan and Chau — both the children of Vietnam War refugees — and the California-born Hsu and the Malaysia-born Yeoh together make it the most acting nominations ever for Asian or Asian American actors. For Quan, a much-loved face of the 1980s from “Goonies” and “Temple of Doom,” the nomination was a once-unfathomable pinnacle. After his acting opportunities dried up, Quan quit acting for years before being offered the part of Waymond. Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, Quan remembered having dreams as a child of attending the Academy Awards.

“It just seemed so far-fetched. Especially when I had to step away from acting for so many years, that dream seemed like it was dead,” Quan said. “My whole thing was: I just wanted a job.”

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 ever at the time of nominations. 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.

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.

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