The film is the most nominated film this year.
On April 8, 2022, cinemas across America saw the wide release of Everything Everywhere All at Once, a new film from director duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Despite only having two feature films under their belt, they’ve earned a reputation for their highly idiosyncratic tastes. So there’s nothing unexpected from the Daniels in their latest film about a middle-aged woman and her offbeat multidimensional adventure, in which she sees the alternative lives she could lead. However, no one expected the film to garner so much attention at the Academy Awards. Until the film became a surprise word-of-mouth hit, kick-starting awards season and ending up with a whopping 11 Oscar nominations, the most films that year. This scenario feels like it could only have appeared in one of the film’s multiverses, but somehow Everything Everywhere All at Once is a legitimate contender for best picture.
Evelyn Wang (Michelle Yeoh) is a Chinese immigrant who runs a laundromat, is overworked and struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with her husband Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), and father Gong (James Hong). to maintain ). Her business is about to fail and she has to deal with a rascal IRS Accountant Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). If this film were “straightforward” in style and lyrics, it would be a pleasant surprise to see this type of film receive strong academy recognition. The awards panel has been criticized in recent years for a lack of diversity among voters and recognition of films by and about people of color, and while there is still room for growth, the film’s success in the nominations department is a step forward in the right direction. Now throw in the aspect surrounding Evelyn’s exploration of the dimensions of the multiverse, and the film’s prestigious accolades become even more bewildering.
What makes its Oscar rivalry even more shocking is the film’s simultaneous use of genre storytelling along with the solid framework of the plot synopsis. A review of the film in The New York Times called the boldness “a whirlpool of genre anarchy.” The Daniels have sampled elements of surrealist comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, martial arts and anime into a melting pot of flamboyant cinema. Genre films don’t tend to do well at Oscar wins, but somehow this film’s mixtape with populist forms captivated voters more than an autobiography on Steven Spielberg’s love of cinema, one of the biggest Hollywood success stories of recent years in Top Gun: Maverick or a long-awaited sequel to Avatar. That’s largely because the Daniels’ vision is a well-defined and powerful directorial statement, not a chaotic cascade of ideas in a script. With their current magnum opus there will be no doubt what a Daniels picture will be like in the future, with their own visual and thematic ideas.
Everything Everywhere is eclectic in its forms of audience appreciation. It can be viewed as a pure entertainment piece or a wonderfully odd examination of philosophy and the state of being. As unconventional as the Daniels’ vision is, there is something for everyone to enjoy or at least fascinate. The film is an amalgamation of multiverse’s booming audience enthrallment in popular media. In fact, the Daniels feared they missed their window while writing the film to cash out on their interest in the multiverse following the 2018 release of the critically acclaimed Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Four months before the release of Everything Everywhere, No Way Home became the second Spider-Man film to explore the realms of the multiverse. During MCU As the film deluged itself with multiverse components to exploit the monetary value of Spider-Man properties, the Daniels used it to push the boundaries of a film’s visual aesthetic. The film tested the limits of film form by blending it with the artistic style of anime and comics.
Perhaps because of the Academy Awards, Everything Everywhere capitalized on their tendency to fully honor actors in the later years of their careers. The film and the character of Evelyn are the ultimate tribute to Michelle Yeoh’s distinguished acting career. If she were to claim a win for her first-ever nomination at this year’s Oscars, it would be similar to the “career achievement” honors of the past for great actors who earn Oscars later in life, but her performance in Everything Everywhere is the full package of her talents. It brings the physical presence of the martial arts and fantastical sequences and emotional weight to the story’s ideas of family and identity. The Oscars love comeback stories, too, and Ke Huy Quan certainly fits into that mold. Twenty years ago he retired from acting after struggling to land roles and is now the front runner to win the Best Supporting Actor award for his role as Evelyn’s husband who lives as a blossoming person in the multiverse. Although honoring Yeoh is a correction of previous snubs, EEAAO is a film of contemporary stylistic and thematic sensibilities, and the recent influx of a younger and diverse electorate signals an awareness of the contemporary. As an added bonus, Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis also receive recognition from the Academy, also for the first time, for their remarkable assisting work on the film.
At the heart of Everything Everywhere All at Once, apart from the stunning visual effects, editing and genre mix, is a deeply human story about family and goodwill. The film’s healing values, which come into play in the final moments, are the secret ingredient to its Oscar success. After a frantic journey through the multiverse, Evelyn learns that love and kindness towards her family is the key to her midlife frustrations. While the film promises to tackle complex issues of existentialism and the generational identity of Asian Americans, its overarching message is undoubtedly healthy, and that traditionally appeals to voters. Genre films of this caliber, based on fantastic concepts, are almost exclusively banned at technical prices. The fact that EEAAO competes for all the major awards for acting, writing, directing and best picture is a marvel and a testament to the film’s endearing message in the context of the deep-seated cynicism that pervades today’s society. Looking past the pomp and circumstance of the genre sampling and unique visual style, the warm heart of Everything Everywhere All at Once is how the film became a major award contender from the Daniels.