Surreal sci-fi film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” dominated the Oscars on Sunday, winning seven golden statuettes including best picture, Hollywood’s most coveted prize.
The unorthodox but beloved movie — which features multiple universes, sex toys and hot dog fingers — also won best director, best actress, best original screenplay, best editing, and both the best supporting actor and actress prizes.
Michelle Yeoh, who is Malaysian, becomes the first ever Asian woman to win best actress, for her portrayal of an exhausted Chinese laundromat owner embroiled in battle with an inter-dimensional supervillain — who happens to be her daughter, says an AFP report.
“Thank you to the Academy, this is history in the making!” she said. “Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime,” added the 60-year-old, whose career began decades ago with martial arts films in Hong Kong.
‘Word of Mouth’ Smash Hit
“Everything Everywhere,” comfortably the night’s biggest winner, is a word-of-mouth smash hit that has grossed $100 million at the global box office. In a plot that is not easily described, Yeoh’s heroine Evelyn must harness the power of her alter egos living in parallel universes, which feature hot dogs as human fingers, talking rocks and giant dildos used as weapons.
The film, which features a predominantly Asian cast, was directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — two young filmmakers who were previously best known for an oddball comedy about a talking corpse.
How Did it Win So Many Awards?
“Everything Everywhere,” released all the way back in March 2022, helped revive arthouse cinemas after two years of pandemic, racking up more than $100 million in ticket sales with scant initial expectations of Oscar glory, reported the Associated Press.
The report pegged the movie as a shock of freshness in a movie industry awash in sequels and reboots, which helped Hollywood turn the page from one of the most infamous moments in Oscar history: The Slap.
According to Vox, the film had a cast of actors with real charisma and a lengthy history in the industry — three of whom won Oscars — a highly devoted fan following, and, as many people said during the awards season as the picture gained traction, a lot of heart.
The report by Vox also argues how similar movies winning represent a diversification of the Oscars, as well.
“Academy Award winners are more likely to be a consensus pick, a film that the majority of people enjoyed a lot, rather than a film that divided opinion. For decades, it appeared that the Academy primarily favoured films that catered to its mostly older, mostly American, mostly white membership: prestige dramas, historical epics, and films about cinema. A specific type of picture, dubbed “Oscar bait,” would emerge as the leader early in the fall and remain there,” Alissa Wilkinson writes.
She argues that this victory signals that the era of easily anticipated Best Picture winners may have come to an end. This is the latest in a string of Oscar surprises (including Moonlight, The Shape of Water, and CODA), attributable, she writes, in part to the Academy’s growing membership, which is changing the Academy’s demographics and, as a result, diversifying its membership’s tastes.
A Pandemic Solution
The report also says that amid the pandemic fallout of cinema, the film comes as a ray of hope.
According to her, the pandemic’s double whammy, combined with the studios’ rush to embrace streaming, has left the industry reeling. Even before the last few years, the decision to increasingly focus resources on megabudget global-audience blockbusters has left midbudget movies, which were commonplace 25 years ago, in the lurch.
“There’s also the reality that this is a film with an original, imaginative screenplay that mashes up genres and made a tremendous profit on a small budget,” she writes, calling the success ‘lightning in a bottle’.
With inputs from AFP
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