On April 8, 2022, American movie theaters saw the wide release of Everything everywhere all at oncea new film from the director duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. Although they only have two feature films under their belt, they have sufficiently made a name for themselves for their very idiosyncratic taste. So their latest film about a middle-aged woman and her extravagant adventure through different dimensions where she sees the alternate lives she could live is nothing unexpected from the Daniels. However, no one could have expected the film to garner so much attention from the Oscars. That is until the film became a surprising word-of-mouth success, gave momentum to awards season and ended up with 11 Oscar nominations, the most of any film this year. This storyline feels like it could have only happened in one of the film’s multiverses, but somehow, Everything everywhere all at once is a legitimate contender for Best Picture.
Evelyn Wang (michelle yeo) is a Chinese immigrant who runs a laundromat, who is overworked and struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan), his daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu), and his father, Gong (James Hong). Her business is on the verge of failure and is forced to deal with a grumpy IRS auditor, Deirdre (Jamie Lee Curtis). If this film was “simple” in its style and its text, this kind of film being strongly recognized by the Academy would be a pleasant surprise. The awards body has come under fire in recent years for its lack of diversity among voters and recognition of films made by and about people of color, and while there is still room for growth, success film in the nominations department is a step in the right direction. Now add the aspect surrounding Evelyn’s exploration across the dimensions of the multiverse, and the film’s prestigious accolades become even more baffling.
“Everything, Everywhere, All At Once” Takes A Different Approach To The Multiverse
What makes its Oscar claim even more shocking is the film’s simultaneous use of genre storytelling with the grounded framework of the plot synopsis. A New York Times the film’s review cited its audacity as a “whirlwind of genre anarchy.” The Daniels sampled elements of surreal comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, martial arts, and anime in a crucible of outlandish cinema. Genre films tend not to fare well with Oscar success, but somehow this film’s mixtape of populist forms captivated voters more than an autobiography about love. of the cinema Steven Spielbergone of the greatest Hollywood successes of recent years in Top Gun: Maverickor a long-awaited sequel to Avatar. That’s mainly because Daniels’ vision is a clearly defined and powerful director’s statement and not a messy cascade of ideas on a script. With their magnum opus currently standing, there will be no doubt what an image of Daniels will be in the future, with their own visual and thematic ideas.
Everywhere is versatile in its forms of audience appreciation. It can be seen as pure entertainment or a beautifully weird examination of philosophy and state of being. Because as idiosyncratic as the Daniels’ vision is, there’s something there for everyone to enjoy or at least be fascinated with. The film is a buildup of the multiverse’s burgeoning public enchantment in popular media. In fact, the Daniels feared that while writing the film, they would miss their window to cash in on their interest in the multiverse after the critically acclaimed film was released. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018. Four months before the release of Everywhere, No coming home became the second Spider Man movie to explore the realms of the multiverse. While the MCU film has inundated itself with components of the multiverse to exploit the monetary value of Spider-Man property, the Daniels have used it to push the boundaries of a film’s visual aesthetic. The film tested the limits of the film form by mixing it with the art style of anime and comics.
Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are finally recognized
Maybe because of the Oscars, Everywhere capitalized on their tendency to fully honor actors in the later years of their careers. The film and character of Evelyn is the ultimate appreciation of Michelle Yeoh’s remarkable acting career. If she were to claim a win for her first-ever Oscar nomination this year, it would look like the “career achievement” honors of the past for great actors who receive Oscars later in life, but her performance in Everywhere is all of his talents. It carries the physical presence of martial arts and fantasy sequences and the emotional weight to the story’s ideas of family and identity. The Oscars love comeback stories too, and Ke Huy Quan certainly fits that mold. Twenty years ago, he retired as an actor after struggling to get roles, and is now the favorite to win Best Supporting Actor for his role as the husband of Evelyn who lives as a successful individual in the multiverses. Although Yeoh’s honor is a correction of previous rebuffs, EEAAO is a film of contemporary stylistic and thematic sensibilities, and the recent influx of a younger and more diverse constituency signals an awareness of the contemporary. Bonus, Stephanie Hsu and Jamie Lee Curtis gaining recognition from the Academy for their outstanding supporting work in film, also for the first time.
An endearing message at the heart of “Everything, everywhere, all at once”
At the heart of Everything everywhere all at once, beyond the impressive visual effects, the editing and the mixing of genres, is a deeply human story about family and caring. The film’s wholesome values that come to fruition towards its final moments are the secret ingredient to its Oscar success. After a turbulent journey through the multiverse, Evelyn learns that love and kindness to her family is the key to her frustrations in her midlife. While the film promises to tackle complex themes of Asian American existentialism and generational identity, its overarching message is undoubtedly wholesome, and that traditionally appeals to voters. Genre films of this caliber, those grounded in fantastical concepts, are almost exclusively relegated to technical awards. The fact that EEAAO is in competition for all the major awards, actor, writer, director and best picture, is a miracle and testifies to the endearing message of the film in the context of the deep cynicism that persists in today’s society . Looking beyond the pomp and circumstance of genre sampling and unique visual style, the warm heart of Everything everywhere all at once That’s how the Daniels’ film became a major awards contender.