Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once: Best Action, Best Oscar Chances
Photo: David Bornfriend / dpa
Suddenly everyone can agree on a German film: When was that last?
Simple answer: never.
With a total of nine nominations, Edward Berger's World War II panorama commissioned by Netflix »Nothing New in the West« is one of the big favorites at the 95th Academy Awards on March 12.
For the first time in the long history of the world's most recognized film awards, a German production has not only been nominated in the "International" category intended for foreign-language films, but is also competing with nine other candidates for the Oscar for the best film of the year.
There were also nominations for visual effects, cinematography, production design, make-up & hairstyling, sound design, score, best adapted screenplay and – of course – best international film.
Only in the actor categories and in the direction of “Nothing new in the West” went empty when it was announced on Tuesday.
If there aren't that many Oscars in the end, that doesn't detract one bit from the astonishing success.
Apparently, Berger's visually stunning work, shot through with deep melancholy, struck a chord with international audiences and the film industry.
The film's 14-time nomination for the British Oscars, the Baftas, last week may have been the decisive boost for the blessing of nominations for the Oscars.
That alone was a sensation.
Berger, who also wrote the screenplay, tells Remarque's plot, the experiences of a young soldier at the front in World War I, consistently from a German perspective, creating an apocalyptic picture of the horror and hopelessness of everyday wartime life.
Berger's film is the 21st German-made film to be nominated for an Oscar, only three have won – exclusively in the former foreign language category: Volker Schlöndorff's Grass film »The Tin Drum« (1980).
Caroline Link's »Nowhere in Africa« about the fate of a Jewish family in World War II (2003) and the Stasi drama »The Lives of Others« by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2007).
With material that revolves around questions of guilt and processing of German history, local cinema has always been able to attract the most international attention, and this time too.
Berger's war spectacle, which was successful in streaming, has already made Oscar history, even if it wasn't enough for the grand prize in the end.
Because there are two other films that are just as popular with the audience as favorites in the race for the Oscars, unlike "Nothing New in the West" one had expected their round of nominations: The science fiction comedy "Everything Everywhere All At Once" by The »Daniels« Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, which turbulently and with a lot of indie attitude uses the Metaverse motifs of big Marvel blockbusters, received a total of eleven nominations.
Malaysian-born US actress Michelle Yeoh is the first Asian to be nominated for Best Actress, and is considered a favorite at the awards alongside Cate Blanchett (»Tár«).
more on the subject
A total of nine Oscar nominations: "Nothing New in the West" in the race for best film
British Film Awards: »Nothing New in the West« with the most Bafta nominations
"Nothing New in the West" on Netflix: World Without HeroesBy Oliver Kaever
What a male drama: The banality of malice by Wolfgang Höbel
Hollywood spectacle "Babylon": "A stubborn beast" by Andreas Borcholte
»Black Panther: Wakanda Forever« in the cinema: How much grieving does a superhero film endure? By Andreas Borcholte
It's conceivable that the film, shot partly in Korean, will share the actor awards with another top competitor: the sly Irish island and friendship prank The Banshees of Inisherin.
The only superficially humorous film, in which the whole drama of the IRA conflict is reflected, has nine nominations for the Oscars.
Leading actor Colin Farrell could only lose to Brendan Fraser (»The Whale«), who has been favored for months, but Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon have good chances in the supporting roles.
"Everything Everywhere..." features supporting actors Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis.
When it comes to supporting women, however, »Wakanda Forever« star Angela Bassett is the favourite.
The Daniels duo and »Banshees« director Martin McDonagh are also nominated for best director and have a good chance.
However, they have to take on veteran Steven Spielberg, who looks back on the early days of his career with his autobiographical family drama »The Fabelmans«.
Almost a home run for the 75-year-old.
A science fiction film, a quiet and poetic Irish allegory - and a German war film: the favorites at an Oscar ceremony have rarely been so surprising.
The rejuvenation, diversification and internationalization of the Oscar Academy, which has been consistently pursued in recent years through accusations of “Oscars-so-white” and discussions about the aging of the Academy, is effective when it produces results that are atypical for Hollywood.
The approximately 10,000 members of the Academy now come from 80 different nations.
The ten films nominated in the main category are correspondingly colorful: in addition to traditional Hollywood and art-house goods such as »The Fabelmans« and the conductor drama »Tár« by Todd Field, surprisingly there are also show value spectacles and box office winners such as "Avatar - The Way of Water" , Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis" and "Top Gun: Maverick" included.
But also the decidedly European, anarchic-satirical Cannes winner »Triangle of Sadness« by Swedish director Ruben Östlund, like all the nominated films, is a public favourite.
So is there anything to complain about in this year's nomination round?
Black actors are
once again left behind in the main role categories, especially the lack of nominations for Viola Davis ("The Woman King" and Danielle Deadwyler ("Till") are conspicuous. The nomination of supporting actor Bryan Tyree Henry ("Causeway ") a positive surprise. If Angela Bassett actually wins the Supporting Actress Oscar as the first Marvel actress ever, it would also be a consolation prize for the fact that the second, very successful "Black Panther" film "Wakanda Forever" was not for best picture was nominated.
Where are the directors?
Although Sarah Polley's haunting portrait »Women Talking« about the fate of women in a repressive Mennonite colony in Bolivia received a nomination for best film, director Polley received nothing.
Just like worthy colleagues like Gina Prince-Bythewood (»The Woman King«) or Charlotte Wells (»Aftersun«).
Top men without a chance
: »Top Gun« leading actor and star Tom Cruise was left empty-handed, as was its director Joseph Kosinski, although everything seemed to be pointing towards another Oscar chance for the three-time unsuccessful Cruise.
Director and Hollywood child prodigy Damien Chazelle ("La La Land") was not nominated for best director for his ambiguously received but powerful silent film era morality picture "Babylon", and supporting actor Brad Pitt was not lucky either.
"Fabelmans" cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, already honored twice and nominated multiple times, was also absent, as were "Wakanda Forever" director Ryan Coogler and Jordan Peele, whose political horror film "Nope" was completely disregarded.
And last but not least, »Fabelmans« leading actor Paul Dano might be surprised
Incidentally, Williams had successfully asserted itself not to be listed in the supporting actress category, but on an equal footing with Dano as the leading actress.
Meanwhile, her colleague Andrea Riseborough had launched an unprecedented grassroots campaign for her portrayal in otherwise doomed indie drama To Leslie, garnering support from numerous Hollywood A-listers.
It all created so much buzz that Riseborough has now been nominated for Best Actress as well.
If things continue this wondrous and unusual, it could be one of the more interesting Oscars.
For a change, again from a German point of view.