The Hamilton Spectator
OSCARS 2023 ‘Everything’ wins everything, all at once
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 Academy Awards, 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. Only two other films in Oscar history — “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Network” — won three acting Academy Awards.
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 sci-fi and alternate realities in the story of an ordinary woman and laundromat owner.
“The world is changing rapidly and I fear our stories are not keeping that pace,” said Kwan, who shared best director and best original screenplay with Scheinert. “Sometimes it’s a little scary knowing that movies move at the rate of years and the world on the internet is moving at the rate of milliseconds. But I have great faith in our stories.”
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. It’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.
“Everything Everywhere,” released all the way back in March 2022, helped revive art house cinemas after two years of pandemic, racking up more than $100 million in ticket sales with scant initial expectations of Oscar glory. In winning best director, the Daniels — both 35 years old — are 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 centre stage for his physical transformation as a 600lb. 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 out Austin Butler.
“So this is what the multiverse looks like,” said a clearly moved Fraser, pointing to the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” crew.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a shock of freshness in a movie industry awash in sequels and reboots, helped Hollywood turn the page from one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history: The Slap. Jimmy Kimmel, hosting for the third time, pledged a ceremony with “no nonsense.” He said anyone who wanted to “get jiggy with it” this year would have to come through a fearsome battalion of bodyguards, including Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and his show’s “security guard” Guillermo Rodriguez.
The former child star Quan capped his own extraordinary comeback with the Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance in the indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Quan, beloved for his roles as Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “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.
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.
The German-language WWI epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” — Netflix’s top contender this year — took four awards as the academy heaped honours on the craft of the harrowing antiwar 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.
Sarah Polley won best adapted screenplay for the Mennonite drama “Women Talking.”
“Thank you to the academy for not being mortally offended by the words ‘women’ and ‘talking,’” said Polley.
Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, took best documentary.
Blockbuster nominees typically boost Oscar ratings. Neither “Maverick” or “Avatar” — with some $3.7 billion in combined box office — took home much, though. “The Way of Water” won for visual effects; “Maverick” took best sound.