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Oscar nominations: 'Everything Everywhere' scores 11, no women for best director

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Nominations for this year's Academy Awards were announced this morning. The film "Everything Everywhere All At Once" racked up nods in almost every category, including best picture. In that category, the film will compete with "Top Gun: Maverick," "The Banshees Of Inisherin" and "The Fabelmans," among others. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE")

MICHELLE YEOH: (As Evelyn Quan Wang) What's happening?

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Michelle Yeoh, who was born in Malaysia, made history as the first Asian actress nominated for a leading-role Oscar. She plays a woman traversing the multiverse in the film "Everything Everywhere All At Once."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE")

YEOH: (As Evelyn Quan Wang) I am paying attention.

DEL BARCO: The quirky independent film earned 11 Oscars nominations, including best picture and best director for the duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. It also got nods for supporting actresses Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis and actor Ke Huy Quan, who audiences first saw as a child in the 1984 movie "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom." Yeoh started out in 1990s martial arts movies from Hong Kong, then became familiar to American audiences with "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" 23 years ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE")

YEOH: (As Evelyn Quan Wang) Don't make me fight you. I am really good.

DEL BARCO: Another longtime actress, Angela Bassett, also made history as the first actor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be nominated for an Oscar. She stars in "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," which did not get nominated as best picture, but it did pick up five nods, including for its original song performed by Rihanna.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIFT ME UP")

RIHANNA: (Singing) Lift me up. Hold me down. Keep...

DEL BARCO: Rihanna's nomination means she'll likely perform on stage at the ceremony soon after she headlines the Super Bowl Halftime Show. The Oscar's telecast may get more boost by seeing nominated artists Lady Gaga and David Byrne.

(SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSIONS)

DEL BARCO: The German film "All Quiet On The Western Front" about soldiers in World War I got six nominations, including best international feature and best picture, where it will compete with the blockbuster "Avatar: The Way Of Water," directed by James Cameron.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER")

BAILEY BASS: (As Tsireya) I see you.

DEL BARCO: They'll go up against "The Fabelmans," the film Steven Spielberg based on his childhood.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE FABELMANS")

MICHELLE WILLIAMS: (As Mitzi Fabelman) Movies are dreams...

DEL BARCO: For two years, women have won the best director Oscar - Jane Campion and Chloe Zhao. But this time, no women were nominated in that category, says Variety's senior awards editor Clayton Davis.

CLAYTON DAVIS: No Sarah Polley for "Women Talking," even though her film was nominated for best picture. No Gina Prince-Bythewood for her epic, "The Woman King." That movie was completely shut out across the board, including Viola Davis. Chinonye Chukwu, the director of "Till" - also shut out. Nothing for Danielle Deadwyler, who was expected to get in best actress for her performance in that film.

DEL BARCO: Davis says one of the biggest game-changers was the best actress nomination for Andrea Riseborough after her grassroots campaign for her performance in the independent film "To Leslie."

DAVIS: This was a very, very tiny movie, very small distributor, played possibly in one theater, but all the biggest stars were coming out to tout her performance. We're talking Amy Adams, Kate Winslet. I mean, when Cate Blanchett won the best actress award at the Critics' Choice Awards for her performance in "Tar," the first name that came out of her mouth was praising Andrea Riseborough in "To Leslie."

DEL BARCO: Whether she can beat out Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams or Michelle Yeoh - well, all will be revealed at the Academy Awards on March 12.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As an arts correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco reports and produces stories about film, television, music, visual arts, dance and other topics. Over the years, she has also covered everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR, as well as the Sundance Film Festival and other events. Her news reports, feature stories and photos, filed from Los Angeles and abroad, can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Alt.latino, and npr.org.