The breakout indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” proved to be the alpha at Sunday’s Oscars, dominating with seven wins including for best picture, best director and three acting prizes.
Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win best actress for her portrayal of a Chinese American immigrant on a high-stakes journey across alternate dimensions, while Ke Huy Quan concluded his big awards season by winning best supporting actor.
Quan, who debuted as a child star in 1984′s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” shared a long hug with co-star Harrison Ford, who presented best picture.
“My mom is 84 years old and she’s at home watching,” the Vietnamese-born Quan said during a tearful acceptance speech earlier in the night. “Mom, I just won an Oscar! My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow I ended up here, on Hollywood’s biggest stage. ... This is the American dream!”
The “Everything Everywhere” filmmaking duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert won best director and best original screenplay, while Jamie Lee Curtis received her first-career Oscar for best supporting actress. The film also won best editing.
The Oscar wins concluded an unlikely journey for the modestly budgeted film, which came out in March 2022, months earlier than typical awards-season fare. It grossed more than $100 million in North America, making it the first film from the A24 studio to do so.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” previously won the top prizes at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards and Producers Guild of America Awards. Yeoh, Quan and Curtis also won numerous acting honors, with each receiving SAG trophies.
The movie entered Sunday’s Oscars with 11 nominations to lead all films and emerged victorious in a best picture race that also included Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical “The Fabelmans” and the big-budget blockbusters “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
Brendan Fraser won best actor for his performance as a severely obese man in “The Whale.” Austin Butler was also nominated in the category for the musical biopic “Elvis.”
Sunday’s show began with host Jimmy Kimmel taking several jabs at Will Smith — a year after the actor’s shocking slap of Chris Rock at the 2022 Academy Awards.
“We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” Kimmel deadpanned during his opening monologue. “So, we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.”
Smith slapped the presenter Rock onstage over a joke about the shaved head of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Pinkett Smith suffers from the hair-loss condition alopecia. Smith, who won best actor for “King Richard” shortly after the incident, has since been banned from the Academy Awards for a decade.
“The Academy has a crisis team in place,” Kimmel said Sunday. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: Nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
Sunday marked the third Oscars hosting gig for Kimmel and first since 2018. He famously emceed the 2017 ceremony where Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty erroneously named “La La Land” best picture instead of the actual winner, “Moonlight.”
This year’s best director race generated controversy after no women were nominated. Kwan and Scheinert, known collectively as The Daniels, were joined in the category by Spielberg, Martin McDonagh for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Todd Field for “Tár” and Ruben Östlund for “Triangle of Sadness.”
The all-male field followed best director wins for Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” in 2021 and Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” last year. Kimmel referenced the scandal as he spoke about speculation that “Avatar” filmmaker James Cameron skipped the show because he wasn’t nominated for best director.
“How does the Academy not nominate the guy who directed ‘Avatar’? What do they think he is, a woman?” Kimmel joked during his monologue.
The ceremony featured performances by Rihanna, who revealed her second pregnancy during her Super Bowl halftime show last month, and Lady Gaga, who was a last-minute addition to Sunday’s lineup.
Rihanna sang her aspirational anthem “Lift Me Up” from Marvel’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Gaga performed her emotional hit “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.” Both were nominated for best original song but lost to M. M. Keeravani and Chandrabose’s “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR.”
Guillermo del Toro won his third career Oscar, taking home best animated feature for his adaptation of “Pinocchio.” The Mexican filmmaker previously won best picture and best director in 2018 for “The Shape of Water.”