LOS ANGELES — The metaphysical multiverse comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took Hollywood’s top prize Sunday, winning best picture at the 95th Academy Awards, along with awards for Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Though worlds away from Oscar bait, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s anarchic ballet of everything bagels, googly-eyed rocks and one messy tax audit emerged as an improbable Academy Awards heavyweight. The indie hit, A24′s second best-picture winner following “Moonlight,” won seven Oscars in all. It had been a favorite for the night with 11 nominations.
The awards were presented in a ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and broadcast on ABC-TV.
Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win best actress. The 60-year-old, Malaysian-born Yeoh won her first Oscar for an “Everything Everywhere” performance that relied as much on her comic and dramatic chops as it did her kung fu skills. She’s the first best actress win for a nonwhite actress in 20 years.
“Ladies, don’t let anyone ever tell you you’re past your prime,” said Yeoh, who received a raucous standing ovation.
Kimmel, hosting for the third time, opened the show with a monologue that was more or less guaranteed to reference “the slap” from last year — which he first did about 10 minutes into the telecast: “We have nominees from every corner of Dublin,” Kimmel said. “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.”
Less than three minutes later, he was a little more direct: “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly, we want me to feel safe,” Kimmel said. “So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point in this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech.” Will Smith won his 2022 best actor Oscar not long after striking presenter Chris Rock.
That acting prize Sunday went to Brendan Fraser, culminating the former action star’s return to center stage for his physical transformation as a 600-pound reclusive professor in “The Whale.” The best-actor race had been one of the closest contests of the night, but Fraser in the end edged Austin Butler from “Elvis.”
“So this is what the multiverse looks like,” said a clearly moved Fraser, pointing to the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” crew.
Quan won best supporting actor for “Everything Everywhere.” Quan, beloved for his roles as Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and Data in “The Goonies,” had all but given up acting before being cast in the movie, he said.
His win, among the most expected of the night, was nevertheless one of the ceremony’s most moving moments. The audience — including his “Temple of Doom” director, Steven Spielberg — gave Quan a standing ovation as he fought back tears.
“They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I can’t believe it’s happening,” said Quan.
Jamie Lee Curtis won an Oscar, her first, for actress in a supporting role in the same movie. Her emotional speech thanked her collaborators in the film with “we just won an Oscar together,” as well as her actor parents, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, nominated but never winners. “I just won an Oscar!”
When “An Irish Goodbye” won for best live action short, filmmakers and soon the entire theater sang “Happy Birthday” to star James Martin, who turned 31 on Sunday. Martin has Down syndrome, and his story — from Starbucks barista to the Oscar stage — has captured the imagination of many in recent weeks.
[ Best red carpet looks from this year's Academy Awards ]
After last year’s Oscars, which had stripped some categories from being handed out in the live telecast, the academy restored all awards to the show. Kimmel made jokes about the telecast’s presumed length, including a joke about Sunday’s time change.
“I know we lost an hour because of daylight saving time but I spoke to the producers and good news: We’ve added that hour into the telecast,” he said. The show ultimately wrapped up in a little more than three and a half hours.
The German-language World War I epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” — Netflix’s top contender this year — took several awards as the academy heaped honors on the craft of the harrowing anti-war film. It won for cinematography, production design, score and best international film, and had been considered a contender for the top prize.
Among the musical numbers, Rihanna performed the song “Lift Me Up,” from the Marvel sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” — just a month after she headlined the Super Bowl halftime show. And Lady Gaga took the stage in ripped jeans and a T-shirt to sing “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” this after walking this year’s preshow champagne carpet (it wasn’t red, for the first time in more than 60 years) in a Versace gown.
Ruth E. Carter won for the costume design of “Wakanda Forever,” four years after becoming the first Black designer to win an Oscar, for “Black Panther.” This one makes Carter the first Black woman to win two Oscars.
“Thank you to the academy for recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman,” said Carter. “She endures, she loves, she overcomes, she is every woman in this film.”
Carter dedicated the award to her mother, who she said died last week at 101.
After landmark wins in recent years for Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”) and Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”), no women were nominated for best director. Sarah Polley, though, won best adapted screenplay for the metaphor-rich Mennonite drama “Women Talking.”
“Thank you to the academy for not being mortally offended by the words ‘women’ and ‘talking,’” said Polley.
Daniel Roher’s “Navalny,” about the imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, took best documentary. The film’s win came with clear overtones to Navalny’s ongoing imprisonment and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continued war in Ukraine. Yulia Navalnaya joined the filmmakers on the stage.
“My husband is in prison just for telling the truth,” said Navalnaya. “Stay strong my love.”
The Tribune contributed to this report.
Winners of the 95th Academy Awards
BEST PICTURE: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE: Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
DIRECTING: Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” from Germany
DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM: “The Elephant Whisperers”
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Navalny”
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Women Talking”
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
PRODUCTION DESIGN: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
CINEMATOGRAPHY: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
COSTUME DESIGN: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND: “Top Gun: Maverick”
ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “An Irish Goodbye”
MUSIC, ORIGINAL SCORE: “All Quiet on the Western Front”
MUSIC, ORIGINAL SONG: “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”
VISUAL EFFECTS: “Avatar: The Way of Water”
ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING: “The Whale”