The 2023 Oscar nominations have been announced and the critically acclaimed Everything Everywhere All At Once leads the pack with 11 nods. The critically acclaimed multiverse movie, starring Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese laundromat owner who is reassessing her life, has been recognised in all the major categories including Best Picture, Best Director (for filmmaking duo Daniels), Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh herself and a clutch of Best Supporting Actor and Actress nods.
The last of those have recognised Ke Huy Quan who steals scenes as Yeoh's apparently hapless but actually wise on-screen husband, and Stephanie Hsu as Yeoh's on-screen daughter whose multiversal avatar is threatening the universe. Hsu has been ignored at both the Golden Globes and the recent BAFTA nominations so it's terrific to see her coming out on top. Jamie Lee Curtis also landed a nomination for her comical turn as a villainous IRS agent, the first she's received in her lengthy and illustrious career.
It's another set of triumphs for the independently spirited, small-budgeted movie that proves imagination and storytelling clout go a heck of a long way. Other nominations for Everything Everywhere include Best Original Score for Son Lux and Best Original Screenplay.
Will Everything Everywhere go all the way? It's certainly got stiff competition from The Banshees of Inisherin. Martin McDonagh's critically lauded dramedy capitalised on its 12-nomination potential at the BAFTAs with nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Original Screenplay (both credited to McDonagh) and a host of acting nominations across the board.
Colin Farrell was the sole performer to be recognised in a leading field (Best Actor). His co-stars Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan have variously been recognized for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. It's evident that the marketing machine wants to split the difference and not dilute frontrunner Farrell's chances of walking away with the top prize (a common Oscars tactic). The sheer craft of Banshees has also been lauded. Carter Burwell's haunting original score and Ben Davis' sweeping cinematography have also landed nods.
Farrell will face competition of his own from Best Actor favourite Austin Butler who seems poised to claim the prize for Elvis. Butler's performance has been consistently lauded and he's already scored the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, which is often seen as a bellwether for Oscar success. (Spare a thought for his usually esteemed co-star Tom Hanks who has landed himself a Razzie nomination for the same movie.)
The Best Actor category has, in fact, thrown up some of the biggest gems of this year's race. It's wonderful to see Paul Mescal being recognised for Aftersun – it will only propel the rising actor to even greater heights of stardom. And screen veteran Bill Nighy has landed his first-ever acting nomination for his moving performance in Living, the English-language adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's landmark Ikiru from 1952. Plenty to celebrate on both fronts.
Surprises? In this year's Oscar run, there have been more than a few pleasant ones. Blockbuster cinema has come out on top with Best Picture noms for both Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water. Is this implicit vindication for two highly successful movies that got people back to the cinema and reminded audiences of the big-screen experience? We'd like to think so.
Angela Bassett has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She's become the first person to be recognised in any kind of acting category for a Marvel movie and is therefore poised to make history on the big night.
Another delightful surprise in the Top Gun camp: its nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. It's perhaps a slightly bizarre designation (adapted from what, the first movie?), but it's terrific to see a crowd-pleaser recognised in the 'above the line' Oscar categories. Top Gun has also been nommed for Best Original Song, Best Sound, Best Film Editing and Best Special Visual Effects. Still no nod for Tom Cruise, though – shameful.
Somewhat predictable shoo-in nominations: Brendan Fraser for The Whale (released at Cineworld on February 3rd), although indications are that either Austin Butler or Colin Farrell has this sewn up based on the popularity of their respective movies. Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans (released at Cineworld on January 27th) rebounded from its paltry BAFTA performance with several Oscar nominations, because that's what you expect when such a revered Hollywood director casts the camera back on himself.
Steven Spielberg was himself nominated for Best Director. The movie has also been recognised for Best Picture and composer John Williams has landed his 53rd nomination for Best Original Score. Williams has now scored more nominations in the history of cinema than any other living individual.
Elsewhere, gross-out vomity cruise-ship satire Triangle of Sadness landed multiple nods including the premium Best Picture and Best Director (for Ruben Ostlund). Sarah Polley's lauded Women Talking (released at Cineworld on February 10th) has been largely ignored on the awards circuit but landed Oscar recognition for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. The celebrated German-language adaptation of World War I novel All Quiet on the Western Front kept up the awards momentum with several nominations including Best Picture.
Best Actress contender Cate Blanchett will go head to head with Michelle Yeoh following her engrossing portrayal of a troubled orchestra conductor in TÁR. The movie, now on released at selected Cineworlds, has also been recognised for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (the last two of which are attributed to Todd Field.)
What are your thoughts on this year's Oscar nominations? Has the Academy got it right for once? And what will emerge as the frontrunner? Stay tuned to our Oscars 2023 coverage ahead of the ceremony itself on March 12th.