He won almost everything everywhere.
At the next sweep of this year’s Academy Awards, “Everything Everywhere Together” picked up the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
If the film had only received a nomination for Best Actor, it is likely that it would have won that too.
The picture also made history, as Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian actress to win the top performance award.
“For all the boys and girls watching like me tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility,” said the 60-year-old star. “And ladies—don’t let anyone ever tell you that you missed your first!”
It was a moving moment, full of genuine emotion in the ceremony.
Yeoh’s co-star was Ke Huy Quan, a one-time child actor who spent decades off the screen, saying, “Dreams are something you have to believe in – I almost gave up on myself.” And Yeoh’s other on-screen partner, Jamie Lee Curtis, who said she shared it with fans, colleagues – and her late parents, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.
Many of the winners and presenters are fighting back, hard, and holding back tears.
Brendan Fraser, Best Actor for “The Whale,” was seen hyperventilating when he took the stage. Another story of the evening’s comeback, he took the time to look back on the early years of the easy star, and admits “It was a possibility that was not good at the time – until I stopped.”
And John Travolta, to introduce the annual salute to the departed stars, choked up when he finished, “They made us laugh, and we became dear friends, whom we will always remain insatiable.”
Then the segment began, with a picture of the late “Grease” co-star Olivia Newton-John, and the reason for that lyric was quoted, and her grief became clear.
The following volume called the funeral, however, turned out to be as inconvenient as it always is, with many televised tributes. Victim Jimmy Kimmel had already joked about the late Robert Blake, maybe not included (and he wasn’t), but where was Stella Stevens, Tom Sizemore and Anna Heche?
And leaving Paul Sorvino? And Tony Sirico? This was a sign of contempt that Ray Liotta apologizes for, buddy.
There were other lies, some ready for tweets and memes.
As clearly pierced by Hugh Grant, an interviewer announcing the Oscars told him to think about “a beautiful Vanity” – and he was talking about his assumption of a post-party magazine, not a Thackeray novel about the frivolity of society.
Or the performance of Tems, named after the song “Wake Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in the ceremony in an enormously over-the-top dress – which was so large that it seemed unlikely that anyone sitting behind him could see the thing.
Less humorous were the show’s obvious bows to the corporate body public.
So a brief salute to the annoyingly ahistorical 100-year history of Warner Bros. (The WB media behemoth may now own MGM assets, but it did. not do “Singin’ in the Snow” or “The Wizard of Oz”).
And the live appearance of Melissa McCarthy and Halle Bailey, only to be introduced for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”, was shameless even by Hollywood standards. (It grew more brazen, and suspicious, since Disney also owns ABC, which aired the show).
However, this is the best Oscar show of all time. There weren’t many surprises, perhaps (I correctly predicted the winners in six major categories last week). But there were no real complications or even long dull distances (in the life of the ceremony a little more than 3½ hours).
As host, Kimmel kept things moving brilliantly, adding an ad-libbed line here or there, pushing it to the edge a little (but never too far). The usual awkward plate and horn performances were kept to a minimum, and some of the production numbers — like the dance performance for the best song winner, “Naatu Naatu” by “RRR” — were truly terrific.
And there was also room for a few tricks.
Like Dona, in a subtly acidic form, expressing his wrinkled face like a scrotum. Or Lady Gaga, who arrived at the ceremony in a daring, barely-there Versace, changing into what appeared to be rehearsal clothes before taking the stage to sing “Hold Your Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.”
As the crowd sweetly sang “Happy Birthday” to James Martin, the intellectually impaired star of the short “Hibernus Goodbye” profit. Or Daniel Scheinert, “Everything everywhere at once”, thanking his parents for encouraging his skills and even “pulling him in as a kid”.
What he added significantly is the threat none.
There were other small political things throughout — shouts of feminism and Russian activism, pamphlets for ageism and racial prejudice — but mostly these 95th annual awards shows were uncontroversial, easy-to-watch, and celebratory.
And there’s a clear hint that — after slipping around a bit lately — he might make it to 100 Oscars after all.
For a complete list of winners, visit oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2023.
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