‘Everything Everywhere’ wins best picture, six other Academy Awards


By JAKE COYLE (AP Film Writer)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Metaphysical multiverse comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once” wrapped its hot dog fingers around Hollywood’s top honors on 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, wide-eyed rocks and a muddled tax audit has emerged as an unlikely Oscar heavyweight. The independent hit, A24’s second best picture winner after “Moonlight,” won seven Oscars in total. Only two other films in Oscar history — “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Network” — have won three acting Oscars.

Fifty years after “The Godfather” won an Oscar, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has triumphed with a very different immigrant experience. Their eccentric story about a family of Chinese immigrants – only the Daniels’ second feature, as the filmmaking duo is known – blended science fiction and alternate realities in the story of an ordinary woman and laundromat owner.

“The world is changing fast and I’m afraid our stories aren’t keeping pace,” said Kwan, who shared best director and best original screenplay awards with Scheinert. “Sometimes it’s a little scary to know that movies move at the speed of years and the world on the internet is moving at the rate of milliseconds. But I have a lot of faith in our stories.”

Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win the best actress award, taking the award for her lauded performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Yeoh, 60, born in Malaysia, won her first Oscar for a performance that relied on her comedic and dramatic skills as much as her kung fu skills. It’s the first best actress win for a non-white actress in 20 years.

“Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re past your prime,” said Yeoh, who received a raucous standing ovation.

“Everything Everywhere,” released in March 2022, helped revive arthouse theaters after two years of the pandemic, amassing more than $100 million in ticket sales with little initial expectations of Oscar glory. In winning best director, the Daniels – both 35 years old – are only the third directing duo to win the accolade, 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 mothers of the world”.

The best actor award went to Brendan Fraser, culminating with the former action star’s return to center stage for his physical transformation into a 600-pound weight. recluse professor in “A Baleia”. The best actor race was one of the closest races of the night, but Fraser ultimately beat Austin Butler.

“So this is what the multiverse looks like,” said a clearly emotional Fraser, pointing to the “Everything everywhere at once” team.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a shock of freshness in a movie industry teeming with sequels and reboots, helped Hollywood turn the page on one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history: The Slap. Jimmy Kimmel, host for the third time, promised a “no nonsense” ceremony. He said that anyone wanting to “have fun” this year would have to go through a fearsome battalion of bodyguards, including Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and his show’s “security guard”, Guillermo Rodriguez.

Former child star Quan capped his own extraordinary comeback with an Academy Award 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 “The Goonies”, had given up on acting before being cast in “Everything Everywhere All at Once”.

His victory, one of the most anticipated of the night, was nevertheless one of the most emotional moments of the ceremony. The audience – including its “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 that stories like this only happen in the movies. I can’t believe this is happening,” Quan said. “This is the American dream.”

Minutes later, Jamie Lee Curtis, Quan’s co-star, won for best supporting actress. Her victory, in one of this year’s most competitive categories, denied comic fans a victory. Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) would have been the first performer to win an Oscar for a Marvel film. Curtis is the rare Oscar winner whose parents were Oscar nominees: Tony Curtis was nominated for “The Defiant Ones” in 1959 and Janet Leigh was nominated in 1961 for “Psycho.”

The German-language World War I epic “Nothing New on the Western Front” — Netflix’s top contender this year — took four awards as the academy racked up honors in the art of harrowing anti-war film. It won in the categories of photography, production design, soundtrack and best international film.

Though Bassett lost the supporting actress, Ruth E. Carter won for costume design in “Wakanda Forever,” four years after becoming the first black fashion designer to win an Oscar, for “Black Panther.” This makes Carter the first black woman to win two Academy Awards.

“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing the superhero that is a black woman,” said Carter. “She resists, she loves, she overcomes, she is every woman in this film.”

The ABC broadcast began traditionally: with a montage of the year’s movies (with Kimmel edited into a cockpit in “Top Gun: Maverick”) and a lengthy monologue. Kimmel struggled to learn lessons from the previous year’s scandal, when Will Smith slammed host Chris Rock for best actor. If anyone attempts violence this year, Kimmel said, “you’ll get the Oscar for best actor and be allowed to give a 19-minute speech.”

After landmark wins for Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), no women have been nominated for best director. Sarah Polley, however, won best adapted screenplay for the metaphor-rich Mennonite drama “Women Talking.”

“Thanks to academia for not taking deadly offense at the words ‘women’ and ‘talking,'” Polley said.

Daniel Roher’s Navalny, about jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, took the prize for best documentary. The film’s victory came with clear overtones for Navalny’s ongoing arrest and Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Yulia Navalnaya joined the filmmakers on stage.

“My husband is in prison just for telling the truth,” said Navalnaya. “Stay strong, my love.”

Some big names didn’t show up for other reasons. Neither Tom Cruise, whose “Top Gun: Maverick” was nominated for best picture, nor James Cameron, director of best picture nominee “Avatar: The Way of Water”, were at the ceremony. Both have been at the forefront of Hollywood’s efforts to bring moviegoers back after years of the pandemic.

“The two guys who asked us to go back to the theater are not in the theater,” Kimmel said, adding that Cruise shirtless in “Top Gun: Maverick” was “L. Ron Hubba Hubba.

Blockbuster nominees often help boost Oscar ratings. Neither “Maverick” nor “Avatar” — with an estimated $3.7 billion at the combined box office — took home much, however. “The Way of Water” won in visual effects; “Maverick” took best sound.

After last year’s Oscars dropped some categories from the live stream, the academy restored all awards to the show and leaned into traditional song-and-dance numbers. That meant some spectacular numbers, including the stretchy suspenders dance to “Naatu Naatu” from Telugu action movie sensation “RRR,” an intimate and passionate performance by Lady Gaga of “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” and a Super Bowl sequel by Rihanna. The best song went to “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”.

It also meant a long show. “It kind of makes you miss the slap a little bit, right?” Kimmel said halfway through.

After last year’s slap, the academy created a crisis management team to better respond to surprises. Neither Rock, who recently made his most scathing statement about the incident in a live special, nor Smith, who was banned by the academy for 10 years, attended.

Last year, Apple TV’s “CODA” became the first streaming film to win Best Picture. But this year, nine of the 10 Best Picture nominees were theatrical releases. After the movie market collapsed during the pandemic, movie attendance has recovered to around 67% of pre-pandemic levels. But it was a year of ups and downs, with big hits and anxiety-inducing lulls.

This year, ticket sales have been strong thanks to releases like “Creed III” and “Cocaine Bear” – which made not one, but two guest appearances at the Sunday show. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild and major studios are set to begin contract negotiations on March 20, an impending battle that has much of the industry bracing for a possible work stoppage.

Oscar is also looking for stability. Last year’s broadcast drew 16.6 million viewers, up 58% from the 2021 scaled-down edition, watched by a record 10.5 million.


AP writers Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Lindsey Bahr contributed to this report.


For more coverage of this year’s Oscars, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/academy-awards

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