You didn’t win absolutely everything everywhere at the same time. But she was pretty close.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a joyously wacky mix of comedy, action and sci-fi about a Chinese-American immigrant traversing the multiverse to keep her family together, won Best Picture at the 95th Annual the Academy Awards on Sunday night, beating out a diverse field that included massive blockbusters as well as intimate art-and-essay fare.
Leading the field with 11 nominations, “Everything Everywhere” won seven, including Lead Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan and Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis, along with Original Screenplay and Direction for co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel . Scheinert.
The indie original, which features breakneck martial arts fights, fingers made of hot dogs, and sex toys used as weapons, initially seemed an unlikely candidate for Oscar glory when it premiered nearly a year ago. But “Everything Everywhere” proved to be a sleeper hit, grossing over $100 million worldwide and, propelled by its combination of gonzo cinema and poignant themes of family love and generational trauma, gradually established itself as a true contender.
As awards season heated up, the film gained momentum, sweeping Hollywood’s top guilds to emerge as an Oscar favorite.
Accepting the director’s trophy alongside Kwan, Scheinert thanked his parents “for not squashing my creativity when I was making really disturbing horror movies, or really kinky comedy movies or dressing like a boy, which is not a threat to anyone.” ”.
Yeoh took home the leading actress award for her portrayal of the no-nonsense matriarch of “Everything Everywhere,” making the Malaysian-born action icon the first Asian to win that award. “To all the little girls and boys watching tonight that look like me, this is a beacon of hope and possibility,” Yeoh said. “And ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re past your prime.”
Capping off one of the most inspiring comeback stories of the year, Quan, who broke out as a child star in the 1980s in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “The Goonies” only to quit acting due to the lack of opportunities, he was honored. for his turn as the film’s meek husband.
“My journey started on a boat,” Quan said in one of the most moving speeches of the night. “I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow I ended up on the biggest stage in Hollywood. They say that stories like this only happen in the movies.
Former morning heartthrob Brendan Fraser, with the lead actor win for his heartbreaking role as a morbidly obese man in “The Whale,” has reached the climax of his own comeback story.
Giving a potential boost to the Oscars telecast, which has seen its viewership drop by nearly two-thirds over the past decade, this year’s best picture race included a handful of bona fide blockbusters, including “Top Gun.” : Maverick,” “Avatar: The Waterway” and “Elvis.” In tribute to “Top Gun,” which grossed $1.5 billion worldwide last summer, the show kicked off with a flyover of the US Navy. USA
In the end though, “Top Gun” and “Avatar”, like many commercial films before them, saw their wins limited to the technical categories, with “Avatar” taking the visual effects award and “Top Gun” winning the visual effects award. sound. Despite their roles in helping lift Hollywood out of its pandemic slump, “Top Gun” star Tom Cruise and “Avatar” director James Cameron failed to turn up at the ceremony, absences that host Jimmy Kimmel pointedly called out on his opening monologue: “The two guys who insisted we go to the theater didn’t come to the theater.”
Some of the other top contenders for the year also failed to meet initial expectations. Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical “The Fabelmans” left the night empty-handed, as did the critically acclaimed drama “Tár” and “Elvis.”
For the academy, the show marked an effort to restore the Oscars’ luster after last year’s calamitous telecast, which was shockingly derailed when Will Smith punched Chris Rock onstage for a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett. Smith. In the run-up to Sunday’s show, speculation was swirling as much about how the telecast would handle “The Slap” as the racing itself.
In a monologue that otherwise steered clear of controversy, and felt like a throwback to Billy Crystal’s style of joking nicely at the Oscars, Kimmel criticized the academy for its handling of the incident and its aftermath.
“We have strict policies,” Kimmel said. “If someone in this theater commits an act of violence at any time during the show, they will be awarded the Best Actor Oscar and will be allowed to give a 19-minute speech.” (In the aftermath of the incident, Smith resigned from the academy and was banned from any academy events for 10 years.)
While many have argued that the nearly century-old awards ceremony needs an overhaul for the TikTok era, Sunday’s Oscars largely stuck to its familiar template, offering the film industry a comforting respite from its existential anxieties about the future of the business. In one of the few glaring departures from tradition, the red carpet was not red but champagne in color. (At an opening ceremony days before the show, Kimmel joked that the decision to change the color “shows how confident we are that no blood will be spilled.”)
For the first time since 2018, there was a single host, with Kimmel marking his third time as emcee, and the broadcast’s producers leaned towards lively musical performances, including pop stars Rihanna, fresh off her halftime show. of the Super Bowl, and Lady Gaga. who delivered a starkly emotional rendition of her nominated original song, “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun.”
Last year, in an effort to trim the show’s notoriously bloated runtime, the academy shifted eight categories of shorts and shorts away from the live broadcast, with clips of the winners’ speeches edited into the show. After a bitter reaction from members of the group, academy leaders reversed the decision, which failed to produce a shorter show, and this year all 23 awards were handed out live.
For the audience assembled at the Dolby Theater, the renewed attention to below-the-line crafts of cinema was clearly welcome, even if it added to the show’s length. As the show headed into its third hour, with many categories still to be finished, Kimmel said that the hour he had just missed due to daylight saving time had been added back to the broadcast.
At a time when movie theaters are struggling to return to their pre-pandemic health, this year’s Oscars offered a morale boost to exhibitors. After last year’s decisive best picture win for Apple’s “CODA,” a first for a streaming service, streamers had a weak showing this year, landing just one top 10 spot with the World War I drama. Netflix World “All Quiet on the Western Front”. ”
That film won four Oscars, including for Cinematography, International Feature, Production Design and Score, a great performance that speaks, in part, to the increasingly global makeup of the academy, which has expanded to more than 10,000 members in the last years. When the film’s composer, Volker Bertelmann, gave the acceptance speech for him, an attendee at the bar was heard to say, “This is not an American academy anymore.”
As in recent years, the show highlighted the diversity of its nominees, with Kimmel giving special recognition to two black actresses, “Woman King” star Viola Davis and “Till’s” Danielle Deadwyler, who many felt had been slighted. While none of this year’s winners in the acting categories were black, the wins for “Everything Everywhere” marked a high point for Asian representation at the Oscars. And with her Oscar for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” costume designer Ruth E. Carter became the first black woman to win two Oscars.
Although no women were nominated in the directing category this year, “Talking Women” director Sarah Polley took home the award for adapted screenplay for the drama about a group of women in a cloistered religious community who unite against their sexual abusers. “I want to thank the academy for not taking to death the words ‘women’ and ‘speaking’ so close together,” Ella Polley said as she accepted the award.
Despite, or perhaps because of, all the difficulties the industry and the Oscars themselves have faced in recent years, the audience of Hollywood luminaries at the Dolby seemed ready to put their troubles behind them and kick back for one night.
In that spirit, at a point in the middle of the show, Kimmel pulled out what he said was Jenny, the donkey from the movie “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
“Jenny is not only an actress, but she is a certified emotional support donkey,” he told the crowd. “Feel free to reach out and give him a hug.”
Actually, according to “Banshees” supporting actress nominee Kerry Condon, the donkey was not the one in the film. “All the way from Ireland?” Condon told The Times. “Of course not!”
But hey, that’s Hollywood.
Times staff writers Amy Kaufman and Jen Yamato contributed to this report.