The metaphysical multiverse comedy "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once" won best picture at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday, alongside Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and Jamie Lee Curran.
Despite being worlds away from Oscar bait, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert's riotous ballet of everything bagels, googly-eyed rocks, and one nasty tax audit became an improbable Oscars heavyweight. The independent success, A24's second-best-picture winner after "Moonlight," earned seven Oscars. Only "A Streetcar Named Desire" and "Network" have won three acting Academy Awards in Oscar history.
Fifty years after "The Godfather" won the Academy Award for Best Picture, "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once" beat with a vastly different immigrant experience. The film's unique story of a Chinese immigrant family mixed science fiction and other dimensions to tell the story of an average housewife and laundromat owner.
"The world is changing quickly, and I feel that our stories are not keeping up," added Kwan, who split the awards for best director and best original script with Scheinert. "It can be a little unsettling to realize that movies move at the rate of years, whereas the internet world moves in milliseconds. But I have enormous confidence in our narratives."
Yeoh was the first Asian woman to win the best actress prize for her performance in "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once." Yeoh, born in Malaysia at age 60, won her first Oscar for a performance that depended equally on her comedic and dramatic abilities and her kung fu capabilities. It has been 20 years since a non-white actress won the award for best actress.
"Women, never let anyone tell you that you've passed your prime," Yeoh remarked to a standing ovation.
The March 2022 release of "Everything Everywhere" helped resuscitate arthouse theatres after two years of plague, grossing over $100 million in ticket sales despite initial low hopes of Oscar glory. After Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins ("West Side Story") and Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men"), the Daniels, both 35 years old, are only the third directorial duo to win the Oscar. Scheinert dedicated the honour to "mothers everywhere."
The award for best actor went to Brendan Fraser, marking the former action star's return to the spotlight for his physical transformation into a 600-pound reclusive professor in "The Whale." The fight for best actor was one of the night's closest confrontations, although Fraser ultimately prevailed over Austin Butler.
"So this is what the multiverse looks like," Fraser stated, gesturing to the "Everything, Everywhere, At Once" crew.
"Everything, Everywhere, All at Once," a breath of fresh air in an industry saturated with sequels and reboots, assisted Hollywood in turning the page on one of the most iconic moments in Oscar history: The Slap. The third-time host, Jimmy Kimmel, promised a ceremony with "no nonsense." He stated that this year, anyone who wanted to "get jiggy with it" would have to pass through a scary battalion of bodyguards consisting of Yeoh, Steven Spielberg, and his show's "security guard," Guillermo Rodriguez.
Quan's work in the indie hit "Everything Everywhere All at Once" earned him the Oscar for best-supporting actor. Before being cast in "Everything, Everywhere, All at Once," Quan, beloved for his appearances as Short Round in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and Data in "Goonies," had all but given up acting.
Despite being among the most anticipated of the evening, his victory was one of the ceremony's most poignant moments. As he battled back tears, the audience, including his "Temple of Doom" director Steven Spielberg, gave Quan a standing ovation.
"Mum, I just got an Oscar!" exclaimed 51-year-old Quan, whose family fled Vietnam during the war as a child.
"Some say that such events only occur in the movies. "I cannot believe this is happening," Quan remarked. This represents the American dream.
Jamie Lee Curtis, a co-star of Quan, won the award for best supporting actress a few minutes later. Her victory in one of the year's most competitive categories denied comic book enthusiasts a triumph. Angela Bassett ("Black Panther: Wakanda Forever") would have been the first Marvel actress to win an Oscar. Curtis is the uncommon Oscar winner whose parents were both Oscar nominees: Tony Curtis for "The Defiant Ones" in 1959 and Janet Leigh for "Psycho" in 1961.
The German-language World War I epic "All Quiet on the Western Front," Netflix's leading contender this year, won four Oscars as the Academy lauded the film's artistry. It earned awards for cinematography, production design, music, and best foreign picture.
Ruth E. Carter won the Oscar for costume design for "Wakanda Forever" four years after being the first African-American designer to win an Oscar for "Black Panther." Carter becomes the first Black woman to win two Oscars with her accomplishment.
Carter thanked the Academy for honouring a Black lady as a superhero. "She perseveres, loves, and triumphs; she represents every woman in this picture."
ABC's program typically began with a montage of the year's films and a lengthy monologue (with Kimmel edited into a cockpit in "Top Gun: Maverick"). Kimmel struggled to learn from the previous year's debacle, in which Will Smith hit presenter Chris Rock, and went on to win the award for best actor. Kimmel stated that if somebody attempted violence this year, they would receive the Oscar for best actor and be allowed to do a 19-minute monologue.
No women were nominated for best director following Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland") and Jane Campion's ("The Power of the Dog") historical triumphs. Sarah Polley won the award for a best-adapted script for her Mennonite-themed drama "Women Talking."
Polley thanked the Academy for not being gravely upset by the terms 'women' and 'talking.'
The finest documentary was "Navalny" by Daniel Roher, about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Clear parallels accompanied the film's victory to Navalny's protracted detention and Vladimir Putin's ongoing conflict in Ukraine. On stage, Yulia Navalnaya joined the filmmakers.
"My spouse is incarcerated for nothing more than expressing the truth," claimed Navalnaya. "Remain steadfast, my darling."
Several notable individuals were absent for different reasons. Neither Tom Cruise, whose "Top Gun: Maverick" was nominated for best film, nor James Cameron, whose "Avatar: The Way of Water" was nominated for best picture, were present at the presentation. After years of the pandemic, both have been at the forefront of Hollywood's efforts to attract viewers again.
"The two men that asked us to return to the theatre are not there," Kimmel remarked, adding that Cruise sans his shirt in "Top Gun: Maverick" was "L. Ron Hubba Hubba."
Often, nominations for blockbuster films enhance Oscar ratings. Yet, neither "Maverick" nor "Avatar" earned much, grossing a combined $3.7 billion at the movie office. The winner for visual effects was "The Way of Water," while "Maverick" won for sound.
After last year's Oscars, in which some categories were omitted from the live transmission, the Academy reinstated all honours and emphasized traditional song and dance sequences. That meant show-stopping numbers, such as the elastic suspenders dance of "Naatu Naatu" from the Telugu action-thriller "RRR," an intimate, passionate performance of "Hold My Hand" from "Top Gun: Maverick" by Lady Gaga, and a Super Bowl follow-up by Rihanna. The best song was "Naatu Naatu" from the album RRR.
It also implied a lengthy show. "Does this make you miss getting slapped a little bit?" Kimmel stated midway.
In response to last year's reprimand, the Academy established a crisis management team to handle unexpected events better. Neither Rock, who recently delivered his most powerful comments about the incident during a live special, nor Smith, who was banned for ten years by the Academy, were present.
Last year, "CODA" on Apple TV was the first streaming film to win best picture. This year, however, nine of the ten nominated films for best picture were theatrically released. Although the pandemic devastated the film industry, movie attendance recovered to approximately 67% of pre-pandemic levels. Nonetheless, it was a year of both blockbuster successes and anxiety-inducing lulls.
This year, ticket sales have been robust because of the success of films such as "Creed III" and "Cocaine Bear," both of which made not one but two appearances at Sunday's program. The Writers Guild and the big studios are scheduled to resume contract discussions on March 20, a conflict that has the industry bracing for a potential work stoppage.
The Academy Awards are also seeking consistency. Last year's broadcast attracted 16.6 million views, a 58% increase from 2021's event, which garnered a record-low 10.5 million viewers.