While there were hopes that Luhrmann would be up for best director – his sole Oscar nomination has been as a producer when Moulin Rouge! was up for best picture – he was overlooked.
Instead, the best director nominees are Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Todd Field (Tar) and Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness).
Delight among the Elvis team about the nominations will be tempered by the death of Lisa Marie Presley, a longtime supporter of the film from when Luhrmann started researching the story from a workspace in the Graceland barn. That support continued right through to the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival then during the Hollywood awards season.
She was part of the Elvis party at the Golden Globes, where Butler won best actor in a drama film, just days before her death.
Butler’s rivals for best actor are Brendan Fraser in his comeback to a starring role (The Whale), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Bill Nighy (Living) and Paul Mescal (Aftersun).
Mandy Walker, the Elvis director of photography who smashed a glass ceiling when she became the first woman to win best cinematography at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards – a feat no woman has done previously at either the British, American or Australian academy awards – has the chance to do it again on a bigger stage at the Oscars.
“I’m so thrilled,” Walker said via zoom from early in the morning in Los Angeles. “I’m here by myself – my daughter’s in New York, my husband’s in Australia. I couldn’t sleep then I’ve been running around the lounge room in my pyjamas.”
Walker described the nomination as “the icing on the cake” after all the accolades that Elvis has been receiving.
She felt nervous about having the chance to smash another glass ceiling at the Oscars in a category won by fellow Australian Greig Fraser for Dune last year.
“I’m humbled to be nominated to be honest,” Walker said. “It’s such a big deal. I’ll have a speech prepared. Just fingers crossed. Who knows?”
While Blanchett called for a stop to “the televised horse race” of pitting actresses against each other when she won at the Critics Choice Awards this month, the Oscars will see her up against Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once), Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Ana de Armas (Blonde), and Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie).
The surprising success of the wild sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once sees Jamie Lee Curtis up for best supporting actress – her first Oscar nomination – alongside co-star Stephanie Hsu, Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Hong Chau (The Whale).
Underlining the popularity of the pitch-black Irish comedy The Banshees of Inisherin, both Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan are up for best supporting actor against Judd Hirsch (The Fabelmans) and Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway) but the favourite to win will be Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once).
In a charming speech when he won at the Golden Globes, Quan admitted wondering whether he would ever get back to the heights of starring as Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom almost four decades ago. Everything Everywhere was his return to acting after being forced to quit for lack of roles in the 1990s.
Everything Everywhere All At Once led the nominations with 11, followed by The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front with nine.
After two controversies in recent years – wrongly announcing La La Land as best picture winner in 2017 then Will Smith slapping host Chris Rock last year – the Academy will be desperately hoping the focus is just on the films this year.
With Jimmy Kimmel taking over from Rock as host, the Oscars will take place on March 13 (AEDT).