‘Everything’ wins best picture, is everywhere at Oscars
The metaphysical multiverse comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once” wrapped its hot dog fingers around Hollywood’s top prize Sunday, winning best picture at the 95th Oscars, along with awards for Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Though worlds away from Oscar bait, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's anarchic ballet of everything bagels, googly-eyed rocks and one messy tax audit emerged as an improbable Academy Awards heavyweight. The indie hit, A24's second best-picture winner following "Moonlight," won seven Oscars in all.
Fifty years after "The Godfather" won at the Oscars, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" triumphed with a much different immigrant experience. Its eccentric tale about a Chinese immigrant family – just the second feature by the Daniels, as the filmmaking duo is known – blended science fiction and alternate realities in the story of an ordinary woman and laundromat owner.
"Everything Everywhere," released all the way back in March 2022, helped revive arthouse cinemas after two years of pandemic, racking up more than $100 million in ticket sales. Despite initially scant expectations of Oscar glory, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" toppled both blockbusters ("Top Gun: Maverick," "Avatar: The Way of Water") and critical darlings ("Tar," "The Banshees of Inisherin").
Yeoh became the first Asian woman to best actress, taking the award for her lauded performance in "Everything Everywhere All at Once." The 60-year-old Malaysian-born Yeoh won her first Oscar for a performance that relied as much on her comic and dramatic chops as it did her kung fu skills. She's the first best actress win for a non-white actress in 20 years.
"Ladies, don't let anyone ever tell you you're past your prime," said Yeoh, who received a raucous standing ovation.
In winning best director, the Daniels — both 35 years old — won for just their second and decidedly un-Oscar bait feature. They're just the third directing pair to win the award, following Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins ("West Side Story") and Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men"). Scheinert dedicated the award "to the moms of the world."
Best actor went to Brendan Fraser, culminating the former action star's return to center stage for his physical transformation as a 600-lb. reclusive professor in "The Whale." The best-actor race had been one of the closest contests of the night, but Fraser in the end edged Austin Butler.
"So this is what the multiverse looks like," said a clearly moved Fraser, pointing to the "Everything Everywhere All at Once" crew.
The former child star Quan capped his extraordinary comeback with the Oscar for best supporting actor. Quan, beloved for his roles as Short Round in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and Data in "The Goonies," had all but given up acting before being cast in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
His win, among the most expected of the night, was nevertheless one of the ceremony's most moving moments. The audience — including his "Temple of Doom" director, Steven Spielberg — gave Quan a standing ovation as he fought back tears.
"Mom, I just won an Oscar!" said Quan, 51, whose family fled Vietnam in the war when he was a child.
"They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I can't believe it's happening," said Quan. "This is the American dream."
Minutes later, Quan's castmate Jamie Lee Curtis won for best supporting actress. Her win, in one of the most competitive categories this year, denied a victory for comic-book fans. Angela Bassett ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever") would have been the first performer to win an Oscar for a Marvel movie.
It also made history for Curtis, a first-time winner who alluded to herself as "a Nepo baby" during her win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. She's the rare Oscar winner whose parents were both Oscar nominees, something she emotionally referenced in her speech. Tony Curtis was nominated for "The Defiant Ones" in 1959 and Janet Leigh was nominated in 1961 for "Psycho." Curtis thanked "hundreds" of people who put her in that position.
The German-language WWI epic "All Quiet on the Western Front" — Netflix's top contender this year — took four awards as the academy heaped honors on the craft of the harrowing anti-war film. It won for cinematography, production design, score and best international film.
Though Bassett missed on supporting actress, Ruth E. Carter won for the costume design of "Wakanda Forever," four years after becoming the first Black designer to win an Oscar, for "Black Panther." This one makes Carter the first Black woman to win two Oscars.
"Thank you to the Academy for recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman," said Carter. "She endures, she loves, she overcomes, she is every woman in this film."
Carter dedicated the award to her mother, who she said died last week at 101.
After landmark wins for Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") and Jane Campion ("The Power of the Dog"), no women were nominated for best director. Sarah Polley, though, won best adapted screenplay for the metaphor-rich Mennonite drama "Women Talking."
"Thank you to the academy for not being mortally offended by the words 'women' and 'talking,'" said Polley.
Associated Press 2023