‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ won the best picture Oscar

Although a world away from Oscar bait, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s anarchic ballet of all bagels, eyeballs and a messy tax audit comes off as an unlikely Academy Awards heavyweight. The indie hit, A24’s second best picture winner after “Moonlight,” won a total of seven Oscars. Only two other films in Oscar history – “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Network” – have won three acting Academy Awards.

Fifty years after “The Godfather” won the Oscars, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won with a very different immigrant experience. The eccentric story about a Chinese immigrant family – the second part of Daniels.

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

Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win best actress, earning the award for her acclaimed performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The 60-year-old Malaysian-born Yeoh won his first Oscar for a show that relies as much on his comic and dramatic chops as his kung fu skills. This is the first best actress win for a non-white actress in 20 years.

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

“Everything Everywhere,” released by all means back in March 2022, helped revive arthouse theaters after a two-year pandemic, garnering more than $100 million in ticket sales with little initial expectation of Oscar glory. In winning best director, Daniels — both 35 years old — became only 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 mothers of the world.”

The best actor went to Brendan Fraser, who ended up the former action star is back on center stage for his physical transformation as a 600-lb. hiding professor in “The Whale.” The best actor race ever one of the closest contests of the night, but Fraser ultimately prevailed over 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 innovation in a movie industry filled with sequels and reboots, helped Hollywood turn the page from one of the most famous moments in Oscar history: The Slap. Jimmy Kimmel, hosting for the third time, promised a “no nonsense” ceremony. He said anyone who wanted to “jiggy with it” this year had to go through a formidable battalion of bodyguards, including Yeoh, Steven Spielberg and his “security guard” Guillermo Rodriguez.

The former child star Mandarin sealed his own extraordinary return to Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance of 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 quit acting before being cast. “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

His victory, among the most anticipated of the night, was nevertheless one of the most inspiring moments of the ceremony. The audience – including her “Temple of Doom” director, Steven Spielberg – gave Quan a standing ovation as she fought back tears.

“Mom, I just won an Oscar!” said Quan, 51, whose family fled Vietnam during the war when he was young.

“They say stories like this only happen in movies. I can’t believe this is happening,” Quan said. “This is the American dream.”

A few minutes later, Quan’s castmate Jamie Lee Curtis won best supporting actress. His victory, in one of the highly competitive categories this year, denied 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. Curtis is the rare Oscar winner whose parents were both Oscar nominees: Tony Curtis was nominated for “The Defiant Ones” in 1959 and Janet Leigh was nominated in 1961 for “Psycho.”

The German-language WWI epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” — Netflix’s top contender this year — picked up four awards as the academy honored the craft of the gruesome anti-war film. It won for cinematography, production design, score and best international film.

Although Bassett missed out on supporting actress, Ruth E. Carter won for costume design for “Wakanda Forever,” four years after becoming the first Black designer to win an Oscar, for “Black Panther.” This is what makes Carter who first Black woman to win two Oscars.

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

ABC television opened traditionally: with a montage of films of the year (with Kimmel edited in a cockpit of “Top Gun: Maverick”) and a long monologue. Kimmel struggled to find lessons from last year’s scandal when Will Smith hit host Chris Rock, and went on to win best actor. If anyone attempts any violence this year, Kimmel said, “you will be awarded 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 woman was nominated for best director. Sarah Polley, however, won best adapted screenplay for the richly metaphorical Mennonite drama “Women Talking.”

“Thank you to academia for not being offended by the words ‘woman’ and ‘speak,'” Polley said.

Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” about imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, took the best documentary. The film’s victory came with clear overtones of Navalny’s continued imprisonment and Vladimir Putin’s ongoing war in Ukraine. Yulia Navalnaya joined the filmmakers on stage.

“My husband was imprisoned just for telling the truth,” said Navalnaya. “Stay strong, my love.”

Other big names did not attend for other reasons. Neither Tom Cruise, whose “Top Gun: Maverick” was up for best picture, nor James Cameron, director of the best picture nominee “Avatar: The Way of Water,” were absent from the ceremony. Both are at the forefront of Hollywood’s efforts to bring moviegoers back after years of pandemic.

“The two guys who asked us to come back to the theater were not in the theater,” said Kimmel, who added that Cruise without his shirt in “Top Gun: Maverick” was “L. Ron Hubba Hubba.”

Blockbuster nominees usually help boost Oscar ratings. Neither “Maverick” nor “Avatar” – with a combined box office of $3.7 billion – however. “The Way of Water” won for visual effects; “Maverick” gets the best sound.

After last year’s Oscars, which removed some categories from those given in the live telecast, the academy restored all performance awards and relied on traditional song and dance numbers. That means some show-stopping numbers, including the elastic suspenders dance to “Naatu Naatu” from Telugu action-film sensation “RRR,” an intimate, soulful performance by Lady Gaga of “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” and a Super Bowl follow-up by Rihanna. Best song went to “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR.”

It also means high performance. “It kind of gets you off the beat a little, doesn’t it?” Kimmel said in the middle.

After last year’s slap, the academy created a crisis management team to better respond to surprises. Nor did Rock, who had just made his own most powerful statement about the incident in a live special, by Smith, who was banned from the academy for 10 years, attended.

Last year, Apple TV’s “CODA” became the first streaming movie to win best picture. But this year, nine of the 10 best picture nominees are theatrical releases. After the movie business took off during the pandemic, movie theaters have recovered to about 67% of pre-pandemic levels. But it was an up-and-down year, with hits and worrisome moments.

This year, ticket sales are strong thanks to released as “Creed III” and “Cocaine Bear” — who made not one but two cameos on Sunday’s show. Meanwhile, the Writers Guild and the major studios are set to begin contract negotiations March 20, a looming battle that has much of the industry girding for a possible work stoppage.

The Oscars, too, are looking for stability. Last year’s telecast drew 16.6 million viewers, a 58% increase from the lowered 2021 edition, watched by a record low of 10.5 million.


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

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