Everything Everywhere All at Once dominates Spirit Awards ahead of Oscars

The indie awards show can sometimes serve as a preview of what will happen at the Academy Awards

From left, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michelle Yeoh and Dan Kwan with the Best Feature Award for Everything Everywhere All at Once, at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards. Reuters
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The film Everything Everywhere All At Once swept up more film prizes on Saturday, as it was named Best Feature at the Film Independent Spirit Awards — one of the last major Hollywood ceremonies before next weekend's Oscars.

The sci-fi film won in every category that it was nominated, in a ceremony held at Los Angeles' Santa Monica beach.

Voters granted seven awards to the film, which was made on a budget of about $25 million and has become independent studio A24's biggest-ever hit, with a global box office gross of over $100 million.

“This is too many. We're so lucky!” said co-director Daniel Scheinert, collecting the night's final prize.

Michelle Yeoh won Best Lead Performance, and Stephanie Hsu won Best Breakthrough Performance.

US-Vietnamese actor Ke Huy Quan holds the Best Supporting Performance award for Everything Everywhere All at Once, during the 38th Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica. AFP

It is the first year in which the Film Independent Spirit Awards have opted for gender-neutral acting categories.

“Michelle, you beat a bunch of men!” yelled Jamie Lee Curtis in the backstage press room. Curtis was the film's only nominee who failed to win — losing Best Supporting Performance to her co-star Ke Huy Quan.

Scheinert and Daniel Kwan won Best Director jointly and Best Screenplay, and the film also won the Best Editing gong.

The absurdist sci-fi comedy stars Yeoh as the matriarch of a Chinese-American laundromat-owning family, who end up fighting a universe-hopping supervillain while undergoing a tax audit.

“You believed in us. You believed in the masterpiece from the Daniels,” said Yeoh, addressing the studio's producers.

“My boys, thank you for writing such an incredible script that gave us the opportunity to be here, to be seen, to be heard.”

'So humbling and so cool'

Daniel Kwan speaks after receiving the Best Feature award for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Reuters

This year's Spirit Awards were held the weekend before the 95th Academy Awards Ceremony. Voting for the season-concluding Oscars is currently under way, with final voting closing on Tuesday.

Hollywood's most coveted golden statuettes will be handed out at a glitzy ceremony next Sunday.

Among the films that could receive a late Oscars boost from their Spirit Award wins on Saturday were Best Documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Best First Feature Aftersun and Best Cinematography winner Tar.

Women Talking received the pre-announced Robert Altman Award, which honours a film's director, casting director and overall cast.

But in a repeat of scenes at recent high-profile prize-giving ceremonies from Hollywood's actors, producers and directors guilds, the night's big winner was Everything Everywhere All at Once, which cemented its already clear Academy Award front-runner status.

“It's been so humbling and so cool,” producer Jonathan Wang told AFP on Saturday's red carpet.

From left, Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from Everything Everywhere All at Once, A24's biggest ever grossing film. Photo: A24 via AP

The movie — which features characters with hot dog fingers and talking rocks — has overcome predictions from some critics that said it would prove too bizarre for mainstream audiences and voters.

It leads the nominations at the Oscars, with 11 nods.

“What's happened is a lot of people went out and they gave our movie a chance,” said Wang.

“They said 'let's watch it for what it is' and they got past the kind of things that were going to be 'too edgy' for them. And then they were bulldozed by the emotion of it.

“That's what we wanted to do. So that's the highest compliment — that we were able to actually do that.”

Updated: March 05, 2023, 2:00 PM