Everything Everywhere All At Once leads Oscar nominations, as blockbuster films triumph in the best picture category.

    The sci-fi indie, which was a worldwide word-of-mouth hit, nabbed 11 nominations, followed closely by The Banshees Of Inisherin and All Quiet On The Western Front with nine nods apiece.

    Asian and Irish talent shone in all acting categories, and it was a particularly successful year for debutants with 16 of the 20 first-time acting nominations.

    Tom Cruise is back in Top Gun: Maverick.  Photo: Paramount Pictures
    Tom Cruise is back in Top Gun: Maverick. Photo: Paramount Pictures
    Kate Winslet (G) in Avatar.  Photo: 20th Century Studios
    Kate Winslet (G) in Avatar. Photo: 20th Century Studios

    Unusually enough, the prestigious Best Picture category includes films widely watched by audiences and brilliantly performed at the box office, with Avatar: The Way Of Water, Top Gun and Elvis all leading the way.

    In monetary terms, Avatar broke box office records with over $2bn (£1.6bn) worldwide, Top Gun $1.5bn (£1.2bn) and Elvis over $280m (£230m).

    A common complaint about the Oscars is that the films chosen by critics and industry insiders don’t always align with public opinion – but this year it could all be very different.

    All about suites

    In another first for the category, two sequels were nominated – Top Gun and Avatar. Only eight sequels have ever made the cut in Oscar history, and never before have two been chosen in a single year.

    Last year, in an effort to open it up to genres that might not typically be considered Oscar material, the best picture category was expanded to 10 films.

    Despite predictions that the streaming giants could crowd out traditional cinema releases, and last year’s winner – Coda – coming from Apple TV+, this year’s top tier had only one streamer in the mix – Netflix (for All Quiet).

    The other films in the running for best picture are The Fabelmans, Tar, Women Talking and Triangle Of Sadness.

    Which actors got a nod?

    While first-time talent and Asian and Irish stars shone, it wasn’t the best year for UK talent with just Bill Nighy and Andrea Riseborough.

    The Best Actor category saw five nominees for the first time, with Nighy, 73, getting his first nod for his portrayal of a buttoned-up businessman learning to enjoy life.

    Irish stars Colin Farrell and Paul Mescal also made the cut, nominated for The Banshees Of Inisherin and Aftersun respectively. They will face American stars Brendan Fraser, for The Whale, and Austin Butler, for Elvis.

    Brendan Fraser in The Whale.  Photo: A24
    Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Photo: A24

    There had been high hopes for Fraser ahead of the announcement, with his return to the big screen after nearly 20 years dubbed the “Bren-aissance”.

    Speaking ahead of the nominations, Fraser told Sky News: “Awards are new to me, but we’re all bubbly and happy and giddy and happy for this with our fingers crossed and the best hopes for success. But who knows what the outcome is going to be but I’m confident I think we have a chance to reach the finish line sooner.

    In the Best Actress race, five-time nominee Michelle Williams is hoping this year is her time, especially after pushing to be considered Best Actress rather than Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mitzi Fabelman, the fictional mother of Spielberg, in his very personal film.

    Michelle Williams in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans.  Image: Universal Images
    Michelle Williams in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. Image: Universal Images

    Speaking ahead of the nominations, Williams told Sky News: “I’m doing this for myself, a sense of satisfaction, a purpose, a sense of self worth, I want to feel in some way internally my contribution to this work that I’ve been doing for 30 years, it’s the only thing I’ve ever done. And it’s always about doing something new, doing something that I couldn’t do before. lightly pushing what I’m capable of and that’s the thrill I get.”

    In the best actress category, Williams takes on Cate Blanchett for Tar, and first-time nominees Michelle Yeo for Everything Everywhere, Ana de Armas for Blonde and Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie.

    Bill Nighy in Living.  Photo: Sony Pictures
    Bill Nighy in Living. Photo: Sony Pictures
    Actor Andrea Riseborough arrives at the premiere of 'Matilda the Musical'  in London, Britain, on November 21, 2022.
    Andrea Riseborough

    Riseborough’s nomination comes as a shock to many, with her film – about an alcoholic seeking redemption after squandering her lottery winnings and abandoning her son – made on a modest budget and shot in just 19 days.

    Endorsed by a host of Hollywood stars including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Aniston and Amy Adams in recent weeks, the last-minute push clearly did the trick.

    Barry Keoghan also stars in the film.  Photo: 20th Century Studios
    (RL) Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan. Photo: 20th Century Studios

    Banshees continue to impress

    Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees – a comedy about a bewildered man after his best friend threw him on the sidewalk – continued its success in the supporting actor categories, with Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon all having got nods.

    In the best supporting actor category, Glesson and Keoghan will face former child star Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere, Brian Tyree Henry in Causeway and Judd Hirsch (the only actor previously nominated in the category) for The Fabelmans.

    Angela Bassett as Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.  Image: Annette Brown/Marvel Studios
    Angela Bassett as Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Image: Annette Brown/Marvel Studios
    Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway.  Photo: Apple TV+
    Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway. Photo: Apple TV+

    In the Best Supporting Actress category, Condon will take on Angela Bassett – whose nod for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks the first acting nomination for a Marvel movie – aside from Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous nod. in 2021.

    Other Best Supporting Actress nominations are Hong Chau for The Whale, and Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere – again, all first-time nominees.

    The snubbed directors

    An all-male top directors list means that despite women winning the category two years in a row (Chloe Zhao in 2021 and Jane Campion 2022), it won’t be a woman who wins the gong this year.

    The two previous Oscar winners, Spielberg and McDonagh, will continue their rivalry for the best director awards, both having received nominations in the parallel categories at other awards ceremonies.

    Charlbi Dean in Triangle Of Sadness.  Photo: Lionsgate
    Charlbi Dean in Triangle Of Sadness. Photo: Lionsgate

    The other men in the running for the Best Director Oscar are Todd Field for Tar, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known collectively as “The Daniels”) for Everything Everywhere and Ruben Ostlund for Triangle Of Sadness.

    Nominations in 23 categories were announced by Oscar-winning actor and producer Riz Ahmed and Girls star Allison Williams.

    When and where can I watch the real Oscars?

    Three hundred and one films were eligible for this year’s awards, which will take place in March at a star-studded ceremony hosted by American animator Jimmy Kimmel.

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    All nominated films must have opened in a commercial theater in at least one of the six metropolitan areas of the United States between January 1 and December 31 of last year.

    They must also have completed a minimum of seven consecutive days in the same location and must have an operating time of more than 40 minutes.

    You can watch the Oscars exclusively on Sky Showcase on Sunday March 12 from midnight.

    Sky News will be live on the red carpet at the ceremony in Hollywood on Sunday 12th and live with the winners at the Vanity Fair party on Breakfast with Kay Burley on Monday 13th March.

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