LOS ANGELES • Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, an ode to his childhood in 1970s Mexico City, and offbeat royal romp The Favourite yesterday topped the Oscar nominations with 10 each.
Popular musical romance A Star Is Born and former US vice-president Dick Cheney biopic Vice finished with eight nominations each, while superhero blockbuster Black Panther finished with seven.
So far, the awards season has been a bit surprising, with prizes sprayed among a variety of films.
So yesterday's announcement gave the race to the Academy Awards on Feb 24 a bit more clarity.
The sweeping success of Roma is history-making for streaming giant Netflix, marking its first nomination for best picture, and also first in other top categories like best director and best actress.
But The Favourite scored a bit of a surprise with its stellar haul.
While nominations for its trio of stars - Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz - were a near-lock, its flight to the top of the list was not. Director Yorgos Lanthimos took a nod, instead of Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, which scored in most big categories.
It had nominations for three of the four acting prizes - Cooper, Lady Gaga and their co-star Sam Elliott. Surprisingly, Cooper was denied a nod for his directing debut, despite earning nominations at the Golden Globes and from the Directors Guild.
In all, there are eight films vying for best picture: Roma, The Favourite, A Star Is Born, Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman, Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Vice, civil rights dramedy Green Book and Black Panther.
Black Panther also made history as the first superhero flick ever nominated in the category.
Green Book earned five Oscar nominations and moved up in the Academy Awards conversation over the weekend, when it won best film at the Producers Guild of America (PGA) awards.
Twenty times out of 29, the PGA award winner has gone on to take the best picture Oscar.
In the best actor category, Christian Bale looks to be the front runner for his uncanny portrayal of Mr Cheney in Vice.
But Rami Malek's Golden Globe win for his work as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody put him into the conversation.
Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) and Cooper (Star) are also contenders, with Willem Dafoe (At Eternity's Gate) rounding out the field as a dark horse.
For best actress, Glenn Close's momentum is soaring after her twin Globe and Critics' Choice wins for The Wife, in which she plays an author whose marriage boils over when her writer husband wins the Nobel Prize.
But Gaga and Colman, who plays Queen Anne in The Favourite, are expected to give her a fight, along with breakout Roma star Yalitza Aparicio and dark horse Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?).
In the supporting actor category, Elliott will go head to head with Green Book star Mahershala Ali, who took home a Golden Globe.
For best supporting actress, Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk) will battle with Stone and Weisz.