NEW YORK — 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 Jan. 24, 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 who identifies as Asian to be 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.”
Nine of the 10 best-picture nominees were theatrical releases — something cheered by “Tár” filmmaker Todd Field, nominated for direction and screenplay.
“I hope that the faith and the enthusiasm that’s been paid for theatrical films continues,” Field said by phone from Los Angeles.
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. 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. (Some count Merle Oberon, of Sri Lankan and Welsh heritage, the first Asian best actress nominee, in 1936, though she hid her ancestry).
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.”
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.