Oscars: Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and More Record-Setters Among the 2023 Nominees
When the nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett and Elvis were among the stars and films setting new records or carving out unique places in Oscar history.
Both Yeoh and Bassett scored historic nominations, with the Everything Everywhere All at Once star paving new ground for Asian women in the lead actress category while the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star broke her own glass ceiling for Marvel performers. Meanwhile, Elvis may have missed out on a best director nomination for helmer Baz Luhrmann, but one of its female producers joined a rare club of multiple category nominees, with its female DP also making history for her cinematography nomination.
Famed filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, Todd Field, Alfonso Cuarón, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert all made their own marks — adding to their existing achievements, proving sequels can find success decades after earlier films were released and showing that even with Hollywood’s biggest names, there’s still excitement in a first nomination. Actors like Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas and Judd Hirsch set records across categories, ethnicity and age, while composer John Williams continues his reign as the Oscars’ most nominated living person.
Several of this year’s international offerings, including Ireland’s The Quiet Girl and Germany’s All Quiet on the Western Front, had historic performances for their countries. Those honors come in the same year that the box-office grosses of the best picture nominees also set a record.
The 95th annual Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Below The Hollywood Reporter rounds up some of the records and fun facts about the 2023 Oscar nominations.
This year’s first-time nominees include breakout talent and industry veterans
Among this year’s acting nominees, 16 are first-timers including Austin Butler for Elvis, Hong Chau for The Whale, Kerry Condon for The Banshees of Inisherin, Jamie Lee Curtis for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Ana de Armas for Blonde, Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin, Brendan Fraser for The Whale, Brendan Gleeson for The Banshees of Inisherin, Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway, Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Barry Keoghan for The Banshees of Inisherin, Paul Mescal for Aftersun, Bill Nighy for Living, Ke Huy Quan for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie and Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
The 2023 best picture nominees are moneymakers
Collectively, and not adjusted for inflation, the 2023 best picture contenders have grossed more at the U.S. box office than any previous group of nominees in history at the time of nominations. The best picture nominees include: All Quiet on the Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness and Women Talking.
Steven Spielberg continues his run as one of Hollywood’s most decorated directors
With The Fabelmans scoring a best picture nod, Steven Spielberg achieved his 12th nomination in the best picture category, extending his record for an individual producer — producers were first named as nominees in 1951 — from 11 to 12. With 12 nominations as a producer and directing 1975 best picture nominee Jaws, Spielberg has now directed 13 best picture nominees, tying William Wyler as the directors of the most best picture nominees. Meanwhile, Spielberg earned his ninth nod in the best directing category, now tying him with Martin Scorsese for most nominations in the directing category for a living person. Wyler has 12 directing nominations.
Judd Hirsch proves acting has no age limit with Fabelmans nomination
Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical feature The Fabelmans earned seven nominations this year, including a supporting actor nod for Judd Hirsch. With his nomination, Hirsch is now recognized as the second oldest acting nominee at 87 years old, behind Christopher Plummer who was 88 at the time of his nomination for All the Money in the World. Hirsch was previously nominated in the supporting category in 1980 for Ordinary People, with this year’s nod marking 42 years since his first nomination and surpassing a record of the longest gap between acting nominations set by Henry Fonda (The Grapes of Wrath in 1941 and On Golden Pond in 1982.)
Tom Cruise and Jerry Bruckheimer soar to first-time nominations with Top Gun: Maverick
Among the many first-time nominees were two notable newbies: Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise. Both joined the club of Oscar-nominated producers with Top Gun: Maverick‘s best picture nod, marking the first-ever Oscar nod for Bruckheimer and first best picture nod for Cruise.
Avatar and Top Gun prove sequels are timeless
While franchise sequels abound in today’s film industry IP frenzy, it’s rare that a narrative released more than a decade ago gets a second chance to tell a new story. It’s even rarer that there would be two such films nominated for best picture. Thanks to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel 36 years in the making, and James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of the Water, which came out 13 years after the first Avatar, the best picture category now has two movie follow-ups with unusually large gaps between the sequels and the original films.
The Black Panther sequel makes Marvel history again with Angela Bassett
While Marvel’s movies may dominate the box office, they’ve struggled to get Oscar attention in top categories — until Black Panther. The first film, which starred the late Chadwick Boseman, not only took home two Oscars, for best score and best costume design, but also nabbed a best picture nomination. While the 2018 movie’s sequel, Wakanda Forever, didn’t garner the same highly sought-after best picture nom, it did produce a history-making moment for Marvel in the performance categories. Angela Bassett became the first person to be nominated for acting in a Marvel movie, scoring a best supporting actress mention for her portrayal of Queen Ramonda.
Ryan Coogler joins the ranks of the Oscars’ best picture and best song nominees
Angela Bassett wasn’t the only Black Panther creative to score a notable nomination. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler scored his own Oscar nomination in the original song category for “Lift Me Up,” sung by Rihanna. This puts him in an exclusive group of Oscar nominees who have been nominated, though not necessarily from the same film, in both the best picture and best original song categories.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert pull double duty in the best director category
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s Everything Everywhere All At Once may lead the nominees for this year’s Oscars, but the directing nomination for the filmmakers also marks the fifth time two credited directors have been nominated for the same film. Past directing duo nominees have included Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story (1961); Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait (1978); and Joel and Ethan Coen, who won for No Country for Old Men (2007) and were nominated for True Grit (2010).
Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar nomination is already a win for Asian women
Following her win at the Golden Globes, Michelle Yeoh also earned her first Oscar nomination in the best actress category for her role in A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once. The Malaysian-born performer’s nomination was not only her first but also marked the first time a woman who identified as Asian was nominated for the best actress Oscar — Merle Oberon was nominated for The Dark Angel (1936) but reportedly hid her ancestry (her mother was reportedly of partial Sri Lankan descent) and passed for white. “It’s taken a long time. But I think this is more than me,” Yeoh told The Hollywood Reporter of her achievement after the nominations were announced. “At the present moment, constantly, all the time, having Asians walking up to me saying, ‘You can do it, you’re doing it for us.’ It’s like, ‘I understand. I totally understand.’ All this time, they’ve not been recognized, they’ve not been heard.”
Asian acting nominees are at a historic high
Everything Everywhere All At Once leads this year’s race with 11 nominations, including for best picture, with Asian actors achieving a historic four nominations in a single year. Best actress nominee Michelle Yeoh is joined by supporting actor nominee Ke Huy Quan, who is the first actor from Vietnam to be recognized by the Academy, and the second ethnically Chinese supporting actor to be nominated since Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields (1985). Meanwhile in the supporting actress race are Stephanie Hsu and The Whale‘s Hong Chau, the first time two Asian women have shared that category in the same year.
All good things come in threes for Elvis’ Catherine Martin
Catherine Martin, Elvis director Baz Luhrmann’s wife and longtime collaborator, is the seventh woman to hold nominations in three or more award categories after earning nods for best picture, best costume design and production design for her work on Elvis. Previous women who secured multiple nominations in the same year include Chloé Zhao with four and Barbra Streisand, Sofia Coppola, Fran Walsh, Emerald Fennell and Jane Campion with three. With the nominations, Martin is the first person recognized in both the best picture and costume design categories in the same year and the second with nods in best picture and production design categories following Kristi Zea, whose nominations were not in the same year.
Mandy Walker makes history for women in cinematography
Mandy Walker, the cinematographer for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, is only one of three women ever to be nominated in the category of best cinematography. Female cinematographers who have been nominated previously include Mudbound‘s Rachel Morrison in 2017 and The Power of the Dog‘s Ari Wegner, who was nominated last year. A woman has yet to win the best cinematography Oscar.
Cate Blanchett is a best picture darling
Following Tár’s best picture nomination, the film’s star Cate Blanchett has now appeared in 10 best picture nominees, continuing to expand on her record from last year’s nine and surpass Olivia de Havilland. Thanks to her roles in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Babel, The Aviator, all three installments of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Elizabeth, Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up, Blanchett, a two-time Oscar winner, has now become the actress with the most credited roles tied to best picture nominees. The record had been long-held by de Havilland, who was in eight separate films nominated for best picture. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson have appeared in 10 best picture nominees, with Robert De Niro having starred in 11.
Tár’s Todd Field is playing the long game with the Oscars
Filmmaker Todd Field is proving his creative prowess and industry impact are not constrained by time with his honors for Tár. The best actress nomination for Cate Blanchett and the movie’s best original screenplay nomination, for Field’s writing, means that he, with 16 years between his latest movie and last film Little Children, has managed to nab writing and acting nominations for all three of his feature films. That includes noms for In the Bedroom — Sissy Spacek in the best actress category and for best adapted screenplay — along with Little Children‘s best adapted screenplay and best actress (Kate Winslet) nods.
Ana de Armas scores a nod for Cuban representation
Ana de Armas is also making history as the first best actress nominee of Cuban descent. Andy Garcia was originally the only Cuban to have received an acting nod after being nominated for best supporting actor for The Godfather, Part III. After her nomination, de Armas is now also the fifth Latina to score a nod in the best actress category following Fernanda Montenegro for Central Station (1998), Salma Hayek for Frida (2002), Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace (2004) and Yalitza Aparicio for Roma (2018). De Armas’ nomination is for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in the Andrew Dominik-directed film Blonde. Her acting nomination also marks the second given to someone who played Marilyn Monroe, following Michelle Williams’ best actress mention for My Week with Marilyn in 2012.
Alfonso Cuarón has a wealth of nominations across categories
Earning a single Oscar nod is a significant and momentous feat for many industry members, but Alfonso Cuarón has set himself apart among his illustrious group of fellow nominees. The Mexican filmmaker is now tied with Kenneth Branagh for nominations across seven different and individual Oscars categories, translating to six broad categories.
Cuarón, whose best foreign language film win for 2019’s Roma technically goes to the country of Mexico, has been honored for writing, editing, directing, cinematography and producing. His latest nomination comes for his work as a producer on Alice Rohrwacher’s short Le Pupille. Cuarón received Oscar nominations for four of his films — Y Tu Mamá También, Children of Men, Gravity and Roma — in best picture, original screenplay, adapted screenplay, film editing, director, cinematography and now Disney+’s first live-action short film nomination.
John Williams remains the most-nominated living person in Oscars history
With the news that John Williams is not retiring, the door remains open for him to catch or even surpass a record (thanks in part to his 2023 Oscars nomination) long dominated by Walt Disney. The composer, who has racked up a total of 53 nominations — making him the most nominated person alive in Oscars history, is just six nods shy of Disney’s record 59 nominations. His latest honor comes thanks to his work on Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans.
Andy Nelson extends a pretty sound Oscars nomination run
When Andy Nelson attends the 95th Academy Awards in March, he’ll walk in and out — win or lose — as one of the Oscars’ most honored individuals. The Batman and Elvis sound mixer became the third most Oscar-nominated living person with his honors for both films. He now has a total of 24 nominations, winning for Saving Private Ryan and Les Misérables, breaking away from a previous tie with Randy Newman for the third-most noms.
Roger Deakins ups his historic cinematography nomination tally
The 1917 and Blade Runner 2049 cinematographer has increased his total number of Oscar nominations to 16 with his work on Sam Mendes’ Empire of Light. The nomination follows a previous collaboration with Mendes on 1917, for which Deakins won his first Oscar.
The Quiet Girl is one of a wave of nominations for Ireland
Ireland will be well represented at the 2023 Oscars thanks to films like Aftersun and The Banshees of Inisherin. But it was Colm Bairéad’s The Quiet Girl that perhaps made the loudest (historic) noise with this year’s nominations. The movie marks the first Academy Award nomination in the best international film category for the country.
Alongside The Quiet Girl, Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin — starring nominees Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan — is helping make history for Ireland at the Oscars. Thanks to the film’s nine nods, and Paul Mescal’s best actor nom for Aftersun, the country holds bragging rights to a larger record of more than 10 nominations.
All Quiet on the Western Front makes noise among international films
Edward Berger’s WWI film, All Quiet on the Western Front, earned nine Oscar nominations, the second-most mentions ever for a non-English-language film behind Roma and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s 10 nominations each. This year, All Quiet was the also only non-English-language movie to make the list of films nominated for best picture. The Netflix drama is the eighth non-English-language film to be nominated for both international feature film and best picture in the same year. Previous films nominated in both categories include Z (1969); Life Is Beautiful (1998); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000); Amour (2012); Roma (2018); Parasite (2019); and Drive My Car (2021). To date, Parasite is the only non-English-language film to win best picture.