‘All at Once’: Yeoh-led dramedy, others celebrated at 95th Oscars

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Dana Simpson / TV Media
Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the 95th Academy Awards

Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the 95th Academy Awards

The phrase “and the Academy Award goes to …” has become one of the most eagerly anticipated phrases of the year, especially for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Regardless of the ceremony’s host, nominees, location or crowd size, these six words have held special meaning for nearly a century. On Sunday, March 12, in-person attendees and TV/streaming viewers alike will be waiting to hear those infamous words, as host Jimmy Kimmel (“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”) presents the 95th Annual Academy Awards, airing live on ABC.

Since its inception in 1929 when “Wings” (1927) won the coveted Best Picture Award, the Academy Awards celebrates the best and brightest in the film industry from the previous year. While the early days of the awards show may have honored just a handful of films, today’s packed film-release schedule has led to a plethora of nominees across more categories, longer ceremonies and, of course, the creation — and bestowal — of more Oscar statues. 

Oscar is, of course, a name that has become synonymous with the Academy Awards, and while the awards themselves were initially named for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (which acts as the awards’ selection committee), Oscar himself may be a bit of a mystery to viewers. Legend has it that upon seeing the now-famous golden statuette for the first time in 1931, then-academy director Margaret Herrick remarked that it bore an uncanny resemblance to her Uncle Oscar, a.k.a. Oscar Pierce. Ever since that fateful comment some 92 years ago, the Academy Awards has also been known simply as “The Oscars.”

And while the ceremony’s history is certainly interesting, to say the least, its 95th installment is first and foremost on the minds of filmgoers in 2023. Having selected nominees to fill 24 categories overall, the academy has the difficult job of honoring the films released in the prior year based on their societal resonance, technical achievements, theatrical merit and more.

The film with the most nods this year is the 2022 action-packed dramedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Starring Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians,” 2018), Ke Huy Quan (“Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” 1984), Stephanie Hsu (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) and Jamie Lee Curtis (“Halloween,” 1978), the 11-time Oscar-nominated film tells the story of Chinese-American immigrant Evelyn Quan Wang (Yeoh), who runs a financially beleaguered laundromat with her husband while trying to hold the many pieces of her life together. As her father arrives in town for a visit, she notices her husband, Waymond (Quan), acting strangely, and she eventually discovers they can jump between parallel universes, thus altering the outcome of each of their lives, for better or for worse.

Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh

Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh

At once an absurdist comedy, a martial arts-heavy action film and an expression of various philosophies from existentialism to nihilism, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was written and directed by Daniel Kwon and Daniel Scheinert (“Swiss Army Man,” 2016), known collectively as “The Daniels,” both of whom are nominated for Best Director this year. Other categories in which the film is nominated include Best Actor in a Supporting Role (for Quan), Best Actress in a Leading Role (for Yeoh), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (for Curtis and for Hsu), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Music (Original Score) and (Original Song) for “This Is a Life” by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski, and the coveted Best Picture Award.

Also vying for Best Picture this year are “Avatar: The Way of Water,” a sequel to the original, three-time Oscar-winning Avatar film from 2009; Netflix’s German war epic “All Quiet on the Western Front”; Martin McDonagh’s (“In Bruges,” 2008) bromantic dramedy “The Banshees of Inisherin”; Baz Luhrmann’s (“The Great Gatsby,” 2013) musical biopic “Elvis”; Steven Spielberg’s (“Schindler’s List,” 1993) post-war cinematic drama “The Fabelmans”; “Tár,” the Cate Blanchett-led (“Carol,” 2015) biopic about great German composer Lydia Tár; “Top Gun: Maverick,” the sequel to the 1986 classic “Top Gun”; “Triangle of Sadness,” the Ruben Östlund (“Force Majeure,” 2014) dramedy set aboard a private cruise; and “Women Talking,” which tells the harrowing story of a group of Amish women grappling with their faith amid conflict in 2010.

Interestingly, this year marks the first time in 51 years (since the 44th edition of the Oscars) that both Supporting Actor/Actress categories feature two nominees from the same film: Curtis and Hsu for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard,” 2011) and Barry Keoghan (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” 2017) for “The Banshees of Inisherin.” It is also the first time in 88 years (since the seventh Academy Awards) that each of the stars in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category is a first-time nominee.

The ceremony, which will be hosted for a third time by late-night pundit Kimmel, will be broadcast live from Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and will be produced for the second time by Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner of White Cherry Entertainment. Kirshner will also reprise his role as the ceremony’s director for an eighth year. 

Don’t miss a night of movie magic when the 95th Annual Academy Awards, or "The Oscars," airs live, Sunday, March 12, on ABC.