‘Everything Everywhere’ won the guild trifecta. Now it’s the Oscars frontrunner
Between winning top honors at the Directors Guild Awards last weekend and the Producers and Screen Actors Guild awards this weekend, the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” crew met Saturday at NeueHouse Hollywood for a final screening by the academy in Los Angeles. Angeles from their trippy, sci-fi family drama.
The star of the film, Michelle Yeoh, reclined on a sofa in the lobby, having just arrived from London. Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan hugged and exchanged stories about LA’s freakishly cold weather. And the tireless Jamie Lee Curtis walked right up to me, squeezed my hand and, not letting go, introduced herself as a “mass-promotional weapon” and spent the next hour backing up her braggadocio with charming — and almost alarming — force.
“It’s a movie for a generation,” Curtis told the audience during the post-screening Q&A, comparing the reaction to “Everything Everywhere All At Once” to how her time felt about “The Graduate.” “It is literally the best film for a generation.” The room eats this up. “The more often you say the word dear — dear, dear, dear, dear — is a good thing to say right now.”
Curtis isn’t the only one saying it. Over the weekend, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” became the 10th film to take the Producers, Directors and Screen Actors Guild awards, making it the overwhelming favorite to win the Best Picture Oscar on March 12. awarding season trifecta – a list that included “Birdman”, “No Country for Old Men”, and “Argo”, only one, “Apollo 13”, failed to win the Oscar.
The film’s dominance with these key precursor guilds was unforeseen, even after “Everything Everywhere All at Once” racked up a whopping 11 Oscar nominations last month. Some reacted just like co-director Daniel Kwan’s mother. “Don’t you think 11 is too much?” she told him on the phone. It seemed reasonable to think that “Everything Everywhere” would win the SAG Awards cast award, while a more traditional studio film like “Top Gun: Maverick” would win over the producers (it saved the theater industry!) and a more established filmmaker. says Steven Spielberg, would gain favor with the Directors Guild.
But award seasons that seem wide open when the calendar turns often have a way of slipping into irrevocable focus just as the Oscar voting is about to begin. And that’s not just the case with the best photo race. The SAG Awards, as so often, crystallized the four acting categories, including, of course, Quan, who has been locked down since audiences saw his multiverse-jumping turn in “Everything Everywhere” and heard him tell his comeback story, which featured his return to acting after having stopped for decades due to a lack of opportunity.
Quan’s co-star, Curtis, pulled off a minor surprise, winning the lead role for supporting actress, a category Angela Bassett had won for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Both women are legends deserving of a major Oscar moment. A general tiredness – and a bit of snobbery – that some voters feel towards Marvel movies may be the deciding factor for Curtis.
Brendan Fraser was an early favorite in the actor category, following the breathlessly timed standing ovations he received at fall film festivals for his gripping role in “The Whale.” And, like Quan, he has a career resurgence story. Austin Butler delivers a showier (and deeper) performance in “Elvis,” a much better movie. He could still win the Oscar, but Fraser is now the favorite.
Cate Blanchett had won almost all of the main actress awards this season for playing the monstrous maestro in “Tár,” a performance so impressive that Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel suggested that Lydia Tár succeed him as the next conductor of the group. But SAG-AFTRA voters went with Yeoh, who had a highly anticipated showcase in “Everything Everywhere,” allowing her to dip a toe in a lavish Wong Kar-wai romance And play an exhausted mother trying to transcend the mundane, among a few other things.
When the Oscars finally roll out the red carpet in front of the Dolby Theater in a few weeks, it will be a year and a day since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” premiered at South by Southwest. (“I watched last year’s Oscars in a hotel bar while promoting this movie,” Daniel Scheinert tells me laughingly for the Q&A.) Aside from a summer break that continued into early fall, the film’s core group has reunited for screenings and regular events. What are they going to do after the Oscars?
“It gets weird, like leaving summer camp — that’s always hard,” says Kwan.
“This is the biggest, most intense connection we’ve ever had with a cast,” added Scheinert. “We’ve known these actors for as long as I’ve known my friends in college. It has been a four-year adventure.”
Quan wanders over to him. “I’m still talking to my friends from ‘The Goonies,’ and that was 40 years ago!” he says.
“Do you think we’ll all be doing that in forty years?” Kwan asks him.
“And which of us will be the bastard – don’t you want to see?” Scheinert replies. “That is a leading question. It’s gonna be Me.”
After the long Q&A, which left everyone, especially the actors, in tears (this is a group very much in touch with their emotions), the ensemble entered a conference room to take a few photos. High on a bookshelf, Curtis noticed an art print. To a neutral observer, it looked like concentric circles. For Curtis, it was definitely a bagel, a key symbol in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
“That’s a sign!” she screamed. “That’s a sign!”
After this weekend’s clean sweep and its complete dominance at the SAG Awards, the movie doesn’t really need much luck. But until the Oscar is in hand, Curtis accepts every good omen the universe has to offer.