Two Golden Globe wins, 11 Oscar noms, critics' favourite: We decode the stunning success of 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'

Here's a look at five elements of the multiverse-themed drama's popularity



Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'
Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, "Everything Everywhere All At Once"
by

Enid Grace Parker

Published: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 1:51 PM

Last updated: Wed 25 Jan 2023, 2:19 PM

Everything Everywhere All At Once is a sci-fi Indie film that has made all the right noises, and attracted all the right attention since its release in March last year. Boasting a talented cast that includes Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan (80s child star of The Goonies and Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom who is experiencing a career resurgence), the film revolves around a Chinese-American immigrant who learns that only she can save the multiverse.

The film has picked up a host of awards so far, including Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress (Yeoh) and Best Supporting Actor (Quan), and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Picture.

Now, the film has scored 11 Oscar nominations — best picture, director, original screenplay, editing, costume, score, song, supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, supporting actress for both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, and lead actress for Michelle Yeoh.

Reacting to his nomination, Ke Huy Quan told AP, “It feels surreal. I cannot believe this is happening. When I heard the nomination, I jumped up and I screamed so loud. I felt exactly how I felt when my agent called to tell me I got the part of Waymond. This is something that I have dreamed of for more than 30 years.”

Michelle Yeoh, star of films like Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, said in an interview quoted by AP, “Even just to be nominated means validation, love, from your peers. What it means for the rest of the Asians around the world, not just in America but globally, is to say we have a seat at the table. We finally have a seat at the table. We are being recognized and being seen.”

As global buzz around the film continues to grow, we take a look at five elements of Everything Everywhere All At Once’s popularity.

1. An always popular ‘multiverse’ theme

Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang, who runs a laundromat in the United States with her husband, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan). Wang is dealing with some domestic drama including a husband who files for divorce as a way of gaining her attention, and a daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu) with self-esteem issues.

Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh and James Hong in a scene from 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh and James Hong in a scene from "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Seemingly mundane, it is this drama whose complexity expands through Wang and Waymond’s involvement in a quest to stabilize the multiverse, which is threatened by a power-hungry fanatic called Jobu Tupaki. You’ll love the film for its ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’.

2. An uplifting message

While Everything Everywhere All at Once is a metaphysical action spectacle that spans multiple lives and possibilities, it has family at its heart, a tense mother-daughter relationship.

Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh in a scene from 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Ke Huy Quan and Michelle Yeoh in a scene from "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

Michelle Yeah explained to New York Times how a viewer was so moved by the film, she contacted her estranged daughter after years. “We have now bonded and we have a relationship because of your movie,” Yeoh remembered the woman saying. “Sometimes when a movie like this comes along and you feel that you’ve healed people, that is such an amazing award.”

3. Critics’ favourite

Everything Everywhere All at Once has emerged as a critics’ favourite, with mostly favourable reviews from renowned media outlets and publications. The New York Times called it “messy and glorious”.

Jamie Lee Curtis, left, and Michelle Yeoh in a scene from 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'
Jamie Lee Curtis, left, and Michelle Yeoh in a scene from "Everything Everywhere All At Once"

Mark Kermode of The Guardian wrote, “The result may be a tad overlong and convolutedly overstuffed, but it made me laugh, cry and think – which is more than can be said for many a Marvel flick.”

4. Asian actors in the spotlight

It’s been a record-breaking year for acting nominees of Asian descent.

Harry Shum Jr., Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan pose in the press room with the award for Best Movie for 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
Harry Shum Jr., Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan pose in the press room with the award for Best Movie for "Everything Everywhere All at Once"

With noms for Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Hong Chau (The Whale) - the number of Asian acting nominees is the most for a single year, ever, according to Oscars 2023 Diversity Report in Variety. Quan has spoken earlier of how he struggled to find acting work in an industry that had few opportunities for Asian Americans. Now, he seems to be living the dream once abandoned.

5. Vibrant costumes

For a film that runs through decades as well as dimensions, the designing of costumes for its lead actors is no mean feat. One of the film’s 11 Oscar noms is in the Best Costume Design category.

Los Angeles-based stylist Shirley Kurata presents some standout fashion moments including Michelle Yeoh in a wedding gown with a voluminous tulle skirt and a beaded bodice with lace sleeve detailing, as per a report in Women’s Wear Daily. There’s also Yeoh in a floral shirt and red quilted jacket, while in fighting mode, which is one of the most circulated stills of Everything Everywhere All at Once.


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