From The Hollywood Reporter
BY TYLER COATES
The 'Everything Everywhere' team accepting the best picture Oscar PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
A24’s Everything Everywhere All at Once won best picture at the 2023 Oscars on Sunday night, one of seven Academy Awards it received — including prizes for its direction, original screenplay, editing and performances from actors Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The film’s star Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar for best actress, becoming the first Asian woman and only second woman of color after Halle Berry — who won for Monster’s Ball in 2002 and presented the award to Yeoh with last year’s winner Jessica Chastain — to win the award.
“Thank you all the little boys and girls look like me watching tonight,” said Yeoh. “This is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams to come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you [that] you are ever passed your prime.”
Brendan Fraser won best actor for another A24 film, The Whale. His performance in the film has been considered a comeback for the actor who — as host Jimmy Kimmel noted in his opening monologue — once appeared in Encino Man alongside fellow Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan. “I started in this business 30 years ago,” said Fraser in his acceptance speech. “Things didn’t come easily to me, but there was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time until it stopped.”
Ke Huy Quan won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in Everything Everywhere, delivering an emotional speech to a standing ovation from the audience. “Mom, I just won an Oscar!” he said, noting that his road to the Oscars was long and unexpected. “My journey started on a boat,” said Quan, who fled Vietnam with his parents in 1978. “I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage. Stories like this only happen in the movies.”
Quan’s co-star Jamie Lee Curtis took the Oscar for best supporting actress for the A24 film. “I know it looks like I’m standing up here by myself, but I am not — I am hundreds of people,” said Curtis, who noted that her parents Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh were both nominated for Oscars, but neither won. She also called out the fans of the Halloween franchise, which made her a star after the first film was released in 1978. “To all of the people who have supported the genre movies that I’ve made for all these years — the thousands, the hundreds of thousands — we just won an Oscar!”
Filmmaking duo Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) took both best director(s) and best original screenplay for Everything Everywhere All at Once, becoming just the third two-person directing team to take the Oscar for direction after West Side Story’s Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and the Coen brothers for No Country for Old Men. In his acceptance speech for the latter category, Scheinert honored the public school teachers who taught him as a kid. Kwan, meanwhile, thanked his creative partner for being “his confidence.” Women Talking writer-director Sarah Polley won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. “I want to thank the Academy for not being mortally offended by the words ‘women’ and ‘talking’ so close together like that,” she joked as she accepted the award.
Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front won best international film, the third win for Germany. All Quiet also scored prizes for original score, production design and cinematography. It was the eighth film to be nominated for this category and best picture in the same year (and the first German-language film to earn a best picture nomination). In his acceptance speech, he noted that fellow nominee Florian Hoffmeister — the cinematographer of Tár, with whom Berger reunited at a recent brunch — hired Berger as his assistant on their first film together 30 years ago.
Guillermo del Toro earned his third Oscar for Netflix’s Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which earned the award for best animated feature. “Animation is ready to be taken to the next step,” said del Toro in his acceptance speech. “Please help us, and keep animation in the conversation.”
Performances of the tunes nominated for best original song included 14-time nominee Diane Warren making her debut on the Oscars stage, accompanying singer-actress Sofia Carson on piano for “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman. Lady Gaga — who originally was not slated to perform before being added to the lineup at the last minute — delivered a stripped-down rendition of Top Gun: Maverick’s ballad “Hold My Hand.” Rihanna, fresh off her Super Bowl halftime show in February, performed “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which she wrote with the film’s composer Ludwig Goransson, director Ryan Coogler and Nigerian singer-songwriter Tems. And Oscar winner David Byrne was joined by Everything Everywhere star (and nominee) Stephanie Hsu to perform “This Is a Life” from the A24 film. But it was RRR’s “Naatu Naatu” that won the Oscar for best original song, with composer M. M. Keeravani delivering his acceptance in the form of a parody of the Carpenters’ “Top of the World”
Ruth E. Carter won her second Oscar for best costume design for Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, following her first win in 2019 for the previous film in the Marvel franchise. Carter dedicated her historic win, as the first Black woman to win two awards in any category, to her late mother, who passed away last week: “This [movie] prepared me for this moment,” Carter said, also honoring Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. “Chadwick, please take care of Mom.”
Best documentary feature went to Navalny, and director Daniel Roher dedicated the prize to Russian political opposition leader Alexei Navalny, and relayed a statement on behalf of his film’s imprisoned subject: “I would like to dedicate this award to not only to all political prisoners around the world,” read Roher, before adding: “Alexei, the world has not forgotten your vital message to us all. We cannot be must not be afraid to oppose dictators and authoritarianism wherever it rears its head.”
Yulia Navalnaya, wife of the film’s subject, also delivered a message of thanks to her husband. “My husband is in prison just for telling the truth and defending democracy,” she said. “Alexei, I am dreaming of the day you will be free.”
The directors of An Irish Goodbye, winner of the Oscar for best live action short film, used their time at the mic to ask the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to star James Martin. Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front earned the prize for best cinematography, going to DP James Friend. A24’s The Whale won the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling, becoming the first film to win for using digitally printed prosthetics. Avatar: The Way of Water — as expected — won the Oscar for best visual effects. Top Gun: Maverick, meanwhile, won the Oscar for best sound. In accepting his Oscar for best editing, Everything Everywhere editor Paul Rogers noted, “This is my second movie, y’all.”
Host Jimmy Kimmel returned to the Dolby Theatre for his third Academy Awards hosting gig, using his opening monologue to applaud the films that brought moviegoers back to cinemas. “The films you worked so hard to make the way they were supposed to be seen: in the theater,” Kimmel noted before turning his attention to Oscar winner Nicole Kidman in the audience: “I’m glad to see that Nicole Kidman has finally been released from that abandoned AMC,” he joked.
“It was such a great year for diversity and inclusion, including nominees from all corners of Dublin,” mused Kimmel, pointing out that five Irish performers were among the nominated actors. But he also noted two films not nominated for Oscars: Sony’s The Woman King and MGM/United Artists’ Till, which were both controversially shut out by the Academy despite critical praise for Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic and Chinonye Chukwu’s drama lead by Danielle Deadwyler.
Kimmel also saved the elephant in the room, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock during last year’s Oscars, for the end of his monologue: “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe; and most importantly, I want to feel safe,” he said. “If anyone commits an act of violence, you will be rewarded with the Oscar for best actor.”
Heading into the 95th Academy Awards, A24’s Everything Everywhere led the pack with 11 nods, including best picture, best director and original screenplay (for duo Daniels), and acting noms for Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Curtis and Hsu. The studio had a good year, also earning noms for The Whale (best actor, supporting actress and hair and makeup), Aftersun (best actor) and Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (animated feature).
Going into Sunday night, Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Searchlight’s The Banshees of Inisherin both had nine nominations including for best picture.