First Man is based on the struggle and sacrifices made by the first man to land on moon Neil Armstrong and his family.
As Damien Chazelle's La La Land swept the 89th Academy Awards nominations on Tuesday by becoming the only third movie in the Oscars history to bag a record 14 nods, the director described the moment as "surreal".
The 32-year-old filmmaker, who wrote and directed the candy-colored love story, was in Beijing when he learned about the news, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
La La Land equalled the record 14 nominations of All About Eve in 1959 and Titanic in 1997.
The movie, about two artistes who fall in love while trying to make their respective career in Hollywood, bagged nominations in all the key categories including the best picture, best director and best actress and actor for its leading stars — Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling.
"It's really unbelievable. Just after it was announced, my girlfriend got a text message and told me how many nominations we'd gotten, and I really thought she was just kind of saying what she hoped would happen. It took me so long to believe it I had to ask her literally three times before I actually believed her.
"We're all at this hotel in Beijing to promote the movie, so we quickly ran down the hall to Ryan's room and barged in.
He had Emma on Facetime on his phone, so we just kind of screamed in each other's faces for a few minutes," Chazelle said.
Chazelle is happy for his film's crew as the director said, "I'm extra delighted that they're getting this kind of spotlight."
When asked about getting record-tying nominations, he said, "It's surreal and it's hard to put into words. I'm a little speechless. I love both of those films so much, so it's obviously an honor. But the biggest honor of all is that so many people that I got to make this movie with that made this movie come to life have gotten recognized for it.
"That really just means the world to me. I'm just beaming with pride for them because I was able to witness firsthand what an extraordinary group of people this really was, these artists who came together, in every department, to make this movie a reality. I was so lucky to be surrounded by them and they really brought so much to this project."