It’s conquered the top prizes at the PGAs, DGAs and SAG Awards and two at the Golden Globes, and on Saturday afternoon, A24’s highest-grossing movie of all time and 11-time Oscar nominated Everything Everywhere All at Once took seven out of its eight Film Independent Spirit Award noms as wins, including Best Picture.
The only nom the movie didn’t get as an award was Jamie Lee Curtis, who was competing against Key Huy Quan in Best Supporting Performance.
Everything Everywhere All at Once today beat out Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, Todd Field’s Tár, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking and Ellie Foumbi’s Our Father, The Devil in the Best Feature category.
An emotional Michelle Yeoh continued her Best Actress win streak this season with a win for Best Lead Performance (“I promise, no swearing tonight,” she said onstage). The win came after collecting Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical at the Golden Globes, and a Female Lead Actor and Ensemble wins last weekend at the SAG Awards.
The irony for the highest-grossing indie movie of last year (more than $104 million): Its journey started a year ago at its world premiere at SXSW.
The Spirits were gender neutral in their supporting and lead performance categories.
Kicking off today, Ke Huy Quan took Best Supporting Performance. He was one of 10 nominated, and he beat out among others Everywhere nominee Curtis.
Said the former Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies star: “I am so incredibly proud to be part of the Everything Everywhere All at Once family. I want to emphasize the word ‘family’ because everyone on set, and especially our amazing crew, took such great care of each other [that we] never felt like we worked for anybody. The Daniels and producer Jonathan Wang made a point to make sure everyone feels equally important. We were there for one common reason and goal, and it was to bring something special to the big screen. I am so happy so many people have seen our movie, and at times I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love.”
After accepting the award, Quan reiterated backstage how uncertain his career had been just a few years ago.
“I don’t even know how I got here, how all of this happened. I mean, it feels incredible to be here. This is what I’ve always wanted for so long, but I didn’t think that would ever happen to me,” he told reporters. “It was during the pandemic, not that long ago, that I couldn’t even get a job, you know? And it’s been so amazing. Ever since our movie came out, my life has changed. And I’m so grateful for everything that has happened since.”
After his breakout role as a child in Indiana Jones, Quan went to film school at USC, where he said he became “fascinated” with the different departments on set. So much so that he worked in many of them throughout his career, from boom operator to assistant director.
“It opened my perspective up. Before, when I walked on set, I’d only see my fellow actors, and we see the directors and the producers. Now, I see everybody,” he said, specifically offering his gratitude to production assistants. “I want to thank them today. You know, they are the unsung heroes of our movies. They’re always first to show up and last to leave. They get the least pay. They’re always so passionate in the onset, and they’ve worked so hard, and I’m so grateful to them.”
The pic’s filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert took Best Screenplay today, beating out Tár, Catherine Called Birdy, After Yang and Women Talking. Later on, they also took Best Director. Kwan in accepting the Best Feature prize reminded the tent how independent films impact the greater macro motion picture industry.
“When things are shaking and the cracks form in the foundations, that’s the best time to plant seeds. It is our job not just to adapt to the future, but also to actively dream up what kind of future we want to be working on living in. I just urge us all to dream really big. What we do here is going to flow upstream to the rest of the industry. We have a very special power, and it seems like a weakness because what we do is so small and scrappy. But that makes us flexible; that makes us able to move in a way the rest of the industry cannot. I urge you all to plant some seeds now, today,” exclaimed Kwan.
Here’s their Screenplay acceptance speech:
Stephanie Hsu won Best Breakthrough Performance and regaled the tent with a moment on set, during one of the final shoots where the crew cleaned up after the shot in what she called a true moment of indie film spirit filmmaking. Hsu, in what is a new awards at the Spirits, bested Frankie Curio in Aftersun, Gracija Filipović in Murina, Lily McInery in Palm Trees and Power Lines and Daniel Zolghardi in Funny Pages.
Backstage, she became emotional reflecting on what she’d say to her younger self if she had the chance, telling reporters that she’d once been afraid to dream big.
“I feel like for the longest time, I didn’t allow myself to really believe that this is possible for me, because I just didn’t see it. So I spent a lot of my career just busting down doors that just were put in my way and I think I focused in the experimental space because it just seems impossible to ever get to make a movie of this scale,” she said. “So, I feel like I would have given my [younger] self permission to fall in love with making art sooner. I would have told her, ‘It’s okay. You can love it. It’s awesome. And you’re gonna be okay.'”
Hsu credited The Daniels with allowing her to take creative control of her characters in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
“From the moment I met them, I knew that we were trying to play in the same sandbox. What I was able to bring to Jobu and to Joy and to this movie was possible because they gave me permission to be fearless. And so I was allowed to step into it making the creative choices that I wanted to bring and I felt so liberated to be able to truly collaborate with them in that way,” she said.
The film also won Best Editing for Paul Rogers’ work.
Overall, a breezy Indie Spirits show at roughly 2 1/2 hours. There’s something to be said for the show being streamed online — no major commercial breaks and pauses and no offstage awards, a staple of the IFC broadcast. That’s a plus, even if this year’s Spirits host Hasen Minhaj is upset over the ceremony not being aired on IFC in lieu of the movie Semi-Pro.
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