Surreal sci-fi flick "Everything Everywhere All At Once" topped the Oscar nominations on Tuesday with 11, as Hollywood formally kicked off the race to the all-important Academy Awards.
German anti-war movie "All Quiet on the Western Front" and Irish black comedy "The Banshees of Inisherin" followed with nine nominations each from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which will hand out the awards on March 12.
As expected, Academy voters also rewarded blockbusters such as Tom Cruise's "Top Gun: Maverick" and "Avatar: The Way of Water" for helping to bring audiences back to movie theatres after the pandemic.
Both were nominated for best picture, Tinseltown's most coveted prize, although another crowd-pleaser – "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" – missed out.
The remaining best picture slots went to rock-and-roll biopic "Elvis," Steven Spielberg's quasi-memoir "The Fabelmans," Cate Blanchett's latest tour-de-force "Tar," Cannes festival-winning satire "Triangle of Sadness" and literary adaptation "Women Talking."
Absurdist indie film "Everything Everywhere All At Once" portrays a Chinese-American immigrant family undergoing a tax audit, who are quickly drawn into an inter-dimensional battle to save the multiverse from a powerful villain.
It became a huge word-of-mouth hit and has grossed more than US$100 million worldwide.
The film earned four acting nominations for its cast, including best supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan – who appeared as a child in "Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom" almost four decades ago – and best lead actress for Michelle Yeoh.
Yeoh becomes just the second Asian woman ever nominated for lead actress in 95 years of Oscars history.
Her co-star Stephanie Hsu was also nominated for supporting actress, along with Hong Chau of "The Whale," in a banner year for Asian representation.
"I think this is beyond just me," Yeoh told The Hollywood Reporter after the nominations were announced.
"It represents so many who have hoped to be seen in this way, to have a seat at the table, to say, 'I am of value too, I need to be seen too.'"
"My phone is going completely bananas from Hong Kong and Asia and China," Yeoh added.
But there was controversy elsewhere in the lead actress category, as no black women were nominated, despite Viola Davis ("The Woman King") and Danielle Deadwyler ("Till") having been seen as frontrunners.
Instead the remaining slots went to Ana de Armas ("Blonde"), Michelle Williams ("The Fabelmans") and Andrea Riseborough for tiny indie film "To Leslie," which benefited from an unusual, 11th-hour campaign mounted by celebrity friends of the British actress.
All five men in the running for best actor are first-time nominees, with Brendan Fraser ("The Whale"), Colin Farrell ("The Banshees of Inisherin") and Austin Butler ("Elvis") considered joint favourites.
The remaining slots went to Paul Mescal in "Aftersun" and Bill Nighy in "Living." (AFP)