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Oscar Voters Honor 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' — And Its Cast With 11 Nominations, The Most This Year

Three people who appear to be Asian stand in a living room looking surprised and scared. One, a woman who appears to be in her 60s, looks ready to fight as she holds back the other two, a younger man and woman.
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
(Courtesy A24)
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Great movies tend to include great performances. Early Tuesday morning, Oscar voters woke up to that fact.

When the Korean drama Parasite won four Academy Awards — including best picture — in 2020, not a single member of its cast was nominated for a trophy, as if the film acted itself.

In nominations for this year’s ceremony, though, the substantially Chinese-language Everything Everywhere All at Once not only collected the most selections of any film, with 11 nominations, but also earned nominations for four of its performers, including star Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh became the first Asian actress to be nominated in that category.

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Oscar voters also honored the German-language All Quiet on the Western Front with the second-most nominations with nine picks, including best picture. But like Parasite, no member of its ensemble was nominated in any acting category.

Over the last 10 years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has worked to diversify its older white male membership by adding thousands of new Oscar voters, largely with younger performers and filmmakers who often come from under-represented backgrounds.

Box-Office Blockbusters

That diversification yielded a list of nominees that included both box-office blockbusters — including best picture nominees Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water — and some surprise selections from somewhat obscure and divisive films, such as Triangle of Sadness, which was nominated for original screenplay and Swedish director Ruben Östlund.

The directing category, yet again, was populated by men only, following consecutive wins in the category by Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao and The Power of the Dog’s Jane Campion. Sarah Polley was not nominated for making Women Talking, but her film was a surprising pick for best picture.

Unexpected Picks

One of the other most unexpected picks was Andrea Riseborough as lead actress for the little-known To Leslie. Her nomination proved that coordinated grassroots campaigning can work, as Riseborough was touted in screenings hosted by a variety of big stars.

Ratings for the Oscar broadcast have been cratering, but maybe the inclusion of several global hits will reverse the course. Top Gun: Maverick has grossed nearly $1.5 billion globally, while Avatar: The Way of Water is nearing $2 billion in worldwide ticket sales.

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It’s the first time in the history of the Academy Awards that two films with worldwide grosses of more than $1 billion have been shortlisted for the top trophy.

Lady Gaga And Rihanna

Those two movies aren’t the only nominations that might attract more viewers. In the original song category, the nominees include Lady Gaga and BloodPop’s “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, and Rihanna’s performance of “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Besides its inclusion in the best picture and best actress races, the leading 11 nominations for Everything Everywhere All at Once include best director for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, original screenplay, editing, costume, score, song, supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, and supporting actress for Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu.

While the film, released by the art house distributor A24, generated a fraction of the ticket sales of a blockbuster, Everything Everywhere All at Once was one of last year’s most successful independent titles, with ticket sales of more than $70 million. 

The Everything Everywhere All at Once attention masked a material shortcoming among the nominees: films made by and starring Black filmmakers and performers were largely missing from the major categories. Angela Bassett was nominated for best supporting actress for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but The Woman KingTill and Nope were blanked, even though The Woman King’s Viola Davis was considered a favorite in the best actress race.

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John Horn, entertainment reporter and host of our weekly podcast Retake, explores whether the stories that Hollywood tells about itself really reflect what's going on?