Oscars 2023: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ makes history

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” proved to be the weird little movie that could at the 95th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, winning seven of its 11 nominations, including Oscars for best picture, best director and three of its actors.

Producer Jonathan Wang thanked the “brilliant and bighearted cast and crew” who surrounded him onstage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood after “Everything Everywhere” closed out the night with a win for best picture.

Co-director Daniel Kwan wrapped up with a message of hope for the continuing role of film to help “shelter each other from the crazy chaos of this world.”

Related: See photos of the stars’ Academy Awards fashion

“I have great faith in our stories,” Kwan said of film in general. “These stories have changed my life. They have for generations. And I know that we’ll get through this.”

Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian to win a best actress Oscar, accepted her award for “Everything Everywhere” with a shout-out for holding fast to your dreams no matter one’s background or age.

“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” the 60-year-old said. “And ladies don’t let anybody ever tell you you are past your prime.”

Brendan Fraser won the Oscar for best actor for his work as a grief-stricken depressed character in “The Whale,” which also won for makeup and hairstyling for transforming Fraser into a 600-pound man.

Brendan Fraser accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for “The Whale” at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

“So this is what the multiverse looks like,” a visibly emotional Fraser said in a nod to the setting of “Everything Everywhere.” “Oh my goodness.”

After thanking director Darren Aronofsky for “throwing me a creative lifeline,” Fraser said he had come to realize that he had taken his success in Hollywood as a younger actor a bit for granted.

“Things, they didn’t come easy to me,” he said. “But here was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time until it stopped. And I just want to say thank you for this.”

Early momentum

“Everything Everywhere” got off to a fast start with a pair of wins for best supporting actor Ke Huy Quan and best supporting actress for Jamie Lee Curtis.

Quan had been widely expected to win his category after sweeping nearly all of the awards leading up to the Oscars on Sunday, and his win was received with raucous cheers and applause from the audience inside the Dolby Theatre.

He arrived onstage already in tears and quickly thanked his 84-year-old mother, who’d brought him from Vietnam after the war, for her support.

Ke Huy Quan accepts the Best Supporting Actor award “Everything Everywhere All at Once” onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“My journey started on a boat,” Quan said. “I spent a year in a refugee camp. And somehow I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage. They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This, this is the American dream.”

Quan got his start as a child actor in the ’80s, but his career stalled for decades until he was cast in “Everything Everywhere.”

“I owe everything to the love of my life, my wife, Echo, who month after month, year after year told me that one day my time will come,” Quan said. “Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive.”

Presenters Ariana DeBose and Troy Kotsur, who won the supporting Oscars in 2022, then announced that Curtis had won her first career Oscar for “Everything Everywhere” too.

“I know it looks like I’m standing up here by myself, but I’m not,” Curtis said. “I am hundreds of people.”

Jamie Lee Curtis reacts in the audience when she is announced the winner for best performance by an actress in a supporting role for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

She continued to say that she owed her Oscar to the cast and crew of her movie, to her team in Hollywood, to her family, and to fans of genre movies, such as the horror, comedy and action classics of which she’s been part.

“And my mother and my father were both nominated for Oscars in different categories,” Curtis said of actors Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, as she looked up to heaven. “I just won an Oscar!”

Her film picked up momentum in the final hour of the Academy Awards, with Oscars for best original screenplay, film editing and director to add to earlier wins in both supporting actor and actress categories.

(L-R top row) Jamie Lee Curtis, winner of the Best Supporting Actress award, James Hong, Michelle Yeoh, winner of the Best Actress in a Leading Role award, Jonathan Wang, winner of the Best Picture award, Stephanie Hsu, Daniel Scheinert, winner of the Best Director and Best Picture award and (L-R bottom row) Ke Huy Quan, winner of the Best Actor In A Supporting Role award and Dan Kwan, winner of the Best Director and Best Picture award for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” pose in the press room during the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The writer-director team of “Everything Everywhere” gave acceptance speeches almost as entertaining as their film.

“I had a fantasy as a kid winning an award and going up and telling off all the teachers who gave me detention,” Daniel Scheinert said after the duo won for original screenplay.

e didn’t — that was just a joke, he clarified — and actually went on to thank the teachers who mentored him, inspired him, and “taught me to be less of a butthead.”

When they returned a few minutes later to accept the Oscar for best director, Kwan delivered a heartfelt speech about the teamwork and collaboration that helped him and Scheinert lead “Everything Everywhere” to the success that it found.

“I just want to go back to my original point,” Kwan said in wrapping up. “There is greatness in every single person. You have a genius that is waiting to erupt. You just have to find the right key to help you unlock it.”

The other big winner

The World War I drama “All Quiet on the Western Front” won four Oscars on Sunday, with wins for best international feature the biggest of those.

Christian M. Goldbeck, from left, winner of the award for best production design for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Edward Berger, winner of the award for best international film for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and James Friend, winner of the award for best cinematography for “All Quiet on the Western Front,” attend the Governors Ball after the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The German film had earlier won the Oscar for best cinematography for James Friend. After director Edward Berger accepted the Oscar for international feature, the film added Academy Awards for best production design and best original score.

“This means so much to us,” Berger said of the film, which became the third German film to win the best foreign or international film category. “I met so many new friends on this movie.”

Berger, like the other “All Quiet” winners, was gracious and grateful to the entire cast and crew but singled out lead actor Felix Kammerer, through whose eyes the story unfolded, for special praise.

This was your first movie, and you carried us on your shoulders as if it was nothing,” Berger said to Kammerer. “Without you, none of us would be here.”

A milestone

Ruth E. Carter, with her second Oscar for costume design, this one for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” became the first Black woman to win multiple Oscars.

Ruth E. Carter accepts the award for best costume design for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” as Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from right, and Paul Dano look on at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Carter, who previously won the same Oscar for “Black Panther,” now joins the ranks of other Black double winners, including actors Denzel Washington and Mahershala Ali.

“Thank you to the academy for recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman,” Carter said in a reference to the female-led story in “Wakanda Forever” after the late Chadwick Boseman carried the title role in the first film in the franchise.

“She endures, she loves, she overcomes, she is my mother,” Carter said, then referencing the loss of her mother a week ago. “This past week, Mabel Carter became an ancestor. Chadwick, please take care of mom.”

Raising issues

The Oscar for best documentary feature went to “Navalny,” the story of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who remains imprisoned in the country.

After director Daniel Roher read a statement from Navalny about the need to end the Russian war in Ukraine and free political prisoners, Yulia Navalny spoke both to those watching the awards as well as her husband.

“My husband is in prison just for telling the truth,” she said. “My husband is in prison just for defending democracy. Alexei, I am dreaming of the day when you will be free and our country will be free. Stay strong, my love.”

Best adapted screenplay went to Sarah Polley, the writer-director of “Women Talking,” whose drama about women in a religious colony deciding how to respond to sexual abuse within their community was like “Everything Everywhere” a best picture nominee.

“First, I want to thank the academy for not not being offended by the words ‘women’ and ‘talking’ so close together like that,” Polley said to laughter from the audience. She then referenced the last line in the movie, spoken by a young mother to her daughter — “Your story will be different than ours” — and said she wants that to be true for her daughters and all girls and women in succeeding generations.

Animation master

Earlier, director Guillermo Del Toro won the Oscar for best animated film for “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio,” and host Jimmy Kimmel opened the show with an F-18 jet flyover and jokes about the famous and fame-adjacent folks in the theater.

“All the categories are back in,” Kimmel said, referencing the controversy over relegating a few awards to the pre-show in 2022. “We will be showing all 23 categories live tonight. Except for one. Earlier tonight best picture went to ‘All Quiet on the Western Front.” Congratulations to Germany.”

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Spotting Steven Spielberg, whose biographical “The Fabelmans” was nominated for best picture, he took a few gentle shots.

“They say Hollywood is running out of new ideas,” Kimmel said. “I mean, poor Steven Spielberg had to make a movie about Steven Spielberg.”

Noting that Spielberg cast comedian and noted marijuana enthusiast Seth Rogan in his best picture-nominated “The Fabelmans,” Kimmel joked that he found it hard to believe Spielberg’s insistence he’d never ever smoked weed.

“You mean to tell me you were sober when you made a movie about an alien who eats Reese’s Pieces and can’t remember how to phone home?” he said as Spielberg nodded that he meant it.

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