NEW YORK, NY.-
In a year when moviegoers returned en masse to big-budget spectacles and skipped nearly everything else Oscar voters on Tuesday spread nominations remarkably far and wide.
The blockbuster sequels Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, with $3.5 billion in combined ticket sales worldwide, were recognized in the best picture category. Elvis, an old-fashioned musical biopic (draped in Baz Luhrmann bling) heard its name called alongside the newfangled Everything Everywhere All at Once. Additional nominations went to the ultrasophisticated Tár, which took in a scant $6 million in theaters; the German-language All Quiet on the Western Front, a streaming-service entry; The Banshees of Inisherin, a dark comedy about a frayed friendship; Steven Spielbergs memory piece, The Fabelmans; the sexual assault drama Women Talking, set in an isolated religious colony; and a satire about the superrich, Triangle of Sadness.
Eight films received five or more nominations. Everything Everywhere had the most, with 11. The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front each had nine.
In some ways, spreading nominations widely over a number of films reflected the jumbled state of Hollywood. No one in the movie capital seems to know which end is up, with streaming services such as Netflix hot then not, and studios unsure about how many films to release in theaters and whether anything but superheroes, sequels and horror stories can succeed.
The inclusion of multiple blockbusters could also signal that voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have finally decided to help the Oscars show by widening the best picture aperture. In 2009, academy leaders expanded the nominee pool to 10 from five. The audience for the ceremony was in decline, and more slots would make room for a broader range of films, perhaps even populist movies or so academy officials hoped. Voters mostly just doubled down on little-seen art films.
The 2022 show drew 16.6 million viewers, the second-worst turnout on record after the pandemic-affected 2021 telecast. If the Nielsen ratings do not improve, the academy faces a financial precipice: Most of its revenue comes from the sale of broadcasting rights to the show. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
ABC will broadcast the 95th ceremony live on March 12.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times