Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh, and Ke Huy Quan in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Credit: A24

It may not come as a shock to anyone who’s seen it, but coming into the 95th Academy Awards with the most nominations (with a total of 11) is A24’s unexpected smash Everything Everywhere All At Once, the sci-fi multiverse extravaganza starring Michelle Yeoh. Beyond its highly coveted Best Picture nom, the film also earned nods in all the acting categories but one, including Yeoh for Best Actress, Ke Huy Quan for Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress noms for both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu.

Following closely behind are All Quiet on the Western Front, set during World War I and based on the 1929 novel of the same name, and The Banshees of Inisherin, which showcases a deeply troubled male friendship in the context of the Irish civil war, with nine nominations each. Battling for Best Picture alongside the three films will be some of the year’s biggest moneymakers, including Avatar: The Way of Water, Top Gun: Maverick, and Elvis, in addition to The Fabelmans, Tár, Triangle of Sadness, and Women Talking.

Among the nominees for Best Director are Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere. Also on the roster is, unsurprisingly, three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans. With a resumé almost entirely comprised of beloved classics, Spielberg is also the only filmmaker in Academy history to be nominated in the Best Director category in six different decades. Rounding out the directorial nominees are Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Todd Field (Tár), and Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness).

But this year, it’s the Best Actor race that has many film lovers biting their nails – the category is chock-full of beloved performances, all from first-time Oscar nominees. Following what was inarguably one of the biggest years of his career, Colin Farrell scored his first-ever nomination for his leading role in Banshees. The Irish vet impressively carried four big screen roles in 2022, including in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, his acclaimed turn as The Penguin in The Batman, and Thirteen Lives. Brendan Fraser’s highly anticipated comeback in The Whale also earned him his well-deserved Best Actor nod after his performance saw him taking home more than 20 critics awards, including the prestigious Critics’ Choice statuette for Best Actor. Austin Butler’s staggeringly committed performance in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis also finds him in the category, along with Paul Mescal for Aftersun and Bill Nighy for Living.

Best Actress is another that has already inspired passionate support for its frontrunners, Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh, who have each won various awards throughout this year’s circuit for their performances. Blanchett, who already holds two Oscars herself (for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine), took home a Golden Globe in the drama category for Tár, while Yeoh won Actress in a Musical or Comedy in the same night. However, since the Oscars generally enjoy maintaining their ability to surprise, the other nominees – Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie), and Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) – cannot be entirely ruled out.

Ke Huy Quan has come a long way since appearing alongside Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones franchise nearly four decades ago. Following his moving speech at the Golden Globes, where his performance in Everything Everywhere nabbed him the award for Supporting Actor in a Musical or Comedy, he now finds himself on the list of Supporting Actor nominees alongside acting powerhouse Brendan Gleeson and young rising star Barry Keoghan (both for The Banshees of Inisherin). Also on the Supporting Actor roster are Brian Tyree Henry for his empathetic performance alongside Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway and Judd Hirsch for The Fabelmans, marking Hirsch’s first return to the Academy Awards since he was last nominated for Ordinary People in 1981.

Continuing this year’s uncommon double-nom trend is Supporting Actress, where both Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis are nominated for Everything Everywhere. Curtis, who comes into the night with big fan support thanks to classics like the Halloween franchise, Freaky Friday, and even her meme-able time as everyone’s favorite yogurt spokeswoman, managed to secure her spot over Dolly de Leon, who was also in contention for Triangle of Sadness. Alongside Hsu and Curtis in Supporting Actress are recent breakout star Hong Chau (The Whale), Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin).

Things become less predictable in the Best Original Screenplay category. While Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere) seemingly have an early advantage given that their film is this year’s most-nominated, the Academy also loves a bait-and-switch (see La La Land infamously losing Best Picture to Moonlight in 2017). The category is as strong as ever this year, with Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Todd Field (Tár), and Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness) also coming into the night with swaths of industry love. Going by previous winners in the category, McDonagh is likely the safest bet to take this one home, but this year, Screenplay can truly be considered anyone’s game.

The 95th Academy Awards will air live on March 12th at 8pm EST. This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, marking the Tonight Show host’s third time in the role.

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