A24 Takes a Bow at the 95th Academy Awards

From tearful acceptance speeches to sweeping wins, the evening of March 12 at the 95th Academy Awards brought about major milestones for cinema history. The Phoenix broke down the night’s biggest wins, along with notable moments.

Content warning: Sexual assault

The Academy Awards have established themselves as the pinnacle of cinema excellence, and with their 95th annual awards show, production company A24 was the true winner of the night. 

Coming into the show, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was nominated 11 times and, by the end, took home a majority of the night’s biggest awards. The Phoenix summarized the night and broke down the six biggest wins of the night.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Ke Huy Quan for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

After “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” won for Animated Feature Film, the second award of the night went to Ke Huy Quan for his role as Waymond in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Hugging fellow first-time nominees Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh on his way to the stage, Quan delivered the most powerful speech of the night with tears in his eyes.

“They say, ‘Stories like this only happen in the movies,’” Quan said. “I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This — this is the American dream.”

In his speech, Vietnam-born Quan said he arrived to America on a boat with his mom and spent a year in a refugee camp. He would go on to star in “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in the mid-’80s.

Beside 87-year-old Judd Hirsch for “The Fablemans,” all other actors in this category were first-time nominees.

Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser and Jaime Lee Curtis received awards for their roles in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “The Whale,” respectively. (Courtesy of Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Actress in a Supporting Role: Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Immediately following her castmate, Curtis took home the award for Actress in a Supporting Role. Like Quan, Curtis played multiple versions of the same character in the multiverse-hopping film “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Curtis has been an ever-present actress since her breakout role in 1978’s “Halloween,” finding success in films like “Freaky Friday” and “Knives Out.”

“I am hundreds of people,” Curtis said, referring to the cast and crew of the film and her family. “We just won an Oscar. Together.”

One of these hundreds included Stephanie Hsu, who also starred in “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and lost to Curtis in this same category.

More notably, Curtis beat out Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” In a movie anchored by the death of Chadwick Boseman, Bassett carried the emotional weight of the film. But in the eyes of the academy, it wasn’t enough to give Bassett her first statuette.

Actor in a Leading Role: Brendan Fraser for “The Whale”

All five actors up for this category were first-time nominees, including Austin Butler for Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” and Paul Mescal for A24’s “Aftersun.” But the statuette was given to Brendan Fraser for his role as Charlie in “The Whale.”

While this category was more of a toss-up than others, Fraser had already won for his role in similar categories at both the Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

This film marked Fraser’s first major role since 2013. In 2018, he revealed he struggled with depression and claimed the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association sexually assaulted him, according to the Associated Press.

In a breathless acceptance speech, Fraser charmingly used extended whale-themed metaphors to thank the cast and crew of “The Whale,” as well as his family.

“It’s been like I’ve been on a driving expedition in the bottom of the ocean, and the air on the line to the surface is on a launch being watched over by some people in my life,” Fraser said.

Brendan Fraser’s casting as Charlie in “The Whale” marked the actor’s first major role in a decade, according to the Associated Press. (Courtesy of Blaine Ohigashi / ©A.M.P.A.S.)

Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Yeoh for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

A24 and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” continued to steal the show when Yeoh’s name was called, making her the first Asian actress to win in this category. 

After a group hug from the cast, the statuette was handed to Yeoh by Halle Berry — the first Black woman to win Actress in a Leading Role in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball.”

Yeoh told the women watching the broadcast to never let anyone tell them they are “past their prime.” In a film centered around motherhood, she played an emotionally complex mom trying to understand her daughter’s needs. 

“I have to dedicate this to my mom — all the moms in the world, because they are really the superheroes and without them, none of us will be here tonight,” Yeoh said in her speech. “She is 84, and I’m taking this home to her.”

Despite being up against eight-time nominee Cate Blanchett for “Tár” and five-time nominee Michelle Williams in “The Fabelmans,” Yeoh and her film have been receiving now-justified Oscar buzz since its release last March.

Directing: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

After “Everything Everywhere All at Once” took home Best Screenplay and Best Editing, co-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — known affectionately as the “Daniels” — made their way to the stage once more for Directing.

This was the Daniels’ second feature-length film after “Swiss Army Man” in 2016. 

“Our fellow nominees — you guys are our heroes,” Scheinert said to open their acceptance speech. “This is weird.”

Notable only because of the film’s content, Steven Spielberg didn’t take home the trophy for “The Fabelmans” — a semi-autobiographical film about Sam Fabelman, an aspiring young director. This nomination was his ninth in this category and made him the first director nominated in six different decades, winning for “Schindler’s List” in 1993 and “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998.

Best Picture: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

The trajectory of the entire awards show didn’t make the Best Picture name reveal from Harrison Ford any less momentous, but certainly less exciting. 

This was the last of seven Oscars taken home by “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” A24’s highest grossing movie of all time, according to Deadline. As most of the main cast and crew flooded the stage, googly eye-themed jewelry and lapel pins bounced around — a nod to the film.

Among the nominees was “All Quiet on the Western Front” — a German Netflix film about World War I. The film took home four awards, including Production Design, Cinematography, Best International Film and Music (Original Score). As two of the highest grossing films of the year, “Top Gun: Maverick” — a film credited with saving theaters — took home the award for Sound and “Avatar: Way of the Water” won for Visual Effects.

After telling his wife Ani he’d love to do laundry and taxes with her, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” producer Jonathan Wang handed the mic once again to the “weirdos” who supported him — the Daniels.

“The world is changing rapidly and I fear that our stories are not keeping pace,” Kwan said. “And sometimes it’s a little scary knowing that movies move at the rate of years, and the world on the Internet is moving at the rate of milliseconds. But I have great faith in our stories.”

Featured image courtesy Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.

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