It’s a juggernaut.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is likely to win best picture and a whole lot more at the Academy Awards.
The reason? It ticks a number of boxes. In addition to being inventive (maybe too inventive for some Academy members), it also shows American filmmakers can be as inclusive as their South Korean counterparts. When “Parasite” won best picture in 2019, insiders wondered why something American made couldn’t be just as impressive. Enter: “EEAAO.”
If there’s a slam dunk in the competition, it’s Ke Huy Quan, who plays the ever-changing husband of Michelle Yeoh. Thus far, he has won most of the supporting actor awards leading up to the Oscars. Quite likely, he’ll get this one, too. In addition to delivering a great performance, he has an interesting story. A former child star, he left acting to pursue a career behind the camera. “EEAAO” brought him back, and now he’s an A-lister, getting offers from all corners of the business. If there’s even the slightest chance of him losing, it could be because voters wanted to honor a veteran (Judd Hirsch in “The Fabelmans”) or a relative newcomer (Barry Keoghan in “The Banshees of Inisherin”). Quan, though, seems like the night’s lock.
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History has shown that other best picture nominees usually go home with something, which means “Avatar: The Way of Water” will be strong in special effects; “Top Gun: Maverick” should get cinematography; “Banshees” and “Women Talking” are likely writing winners; “Fabelmans” will be a strong music contender; “Elvis” reigns in costumes and, maybe, sets; and “All Quiet on the Western Front” should get best international film.
If there’s a best picture nominee that’s shut out, it could be “Tar” or “Triangle of Sadness.”
“Tar,” though, has that brilliant Cate Blanchett performance that could be a threat to Yeoh’s presumed best actress win. “Triangle” has a shot in best original screenplay, but that category is stuffed — all five are up for best picture.
In the fall, “The Fabelmans” was seen as the film to beat (never mind that “EEAAO” was already in theaters), but its chances waned. Even though Steven Spielberg was considered an easy best director pick, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (from “EEAAO”) bested him for the Directors Guild prize. That explains plenty.
Now it’s a matter of momentum. “All Quiet on the Western Front” dominated the British Academy Awards (or BAFTAs); “Everything Everywhere” won four Screen Actors Guild Awards. If you’re placing bets, smart money is definitely with “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
Here’s how the top races stack up.
Best supporting actor • We’ve already said, it’s Ke Huy Quan’s to lose. Start the engraving.
Best supporting actress • Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) has seemed like a frontrunner for much of awards season. She got such a great seat at the SAG Awards, and yet she didn’t win — because there was “EEAAO” momentum. Jamie Lee Curtis (herself a Hollywood story) won the SAG Award and could move ahead based on that prize alone. Kerry Condon won the BAFTA (for “The Banshees of Inisherin”), but she’s probably out of the running at this point. The race is between Bassett and Curtis, two actors who have legitimate reasons to win. Both were excellent in their films, both have a long history with the business, both would be excellent choices. Actors have the largest voting bloc in the Academy. Usually, their picks have clout. But Bassett is impossible to ignore, and Curtis has another “EEAAO” actress in the category (Stephanie Hsu), which could split votes. Bassett is the first performer to be nominated from the Marvel Universe. This close to the wire, we’re saying Bassett wins, but Curtis could easily take it.
Best actor • Here, again, it comes down to two people: Austin Butler (“Elvis”) and Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”). Butler is a bright newcomer. Fraser has the same up/down history as others (sense a trend here?). Colin Farrell (“Banshees”) was a great contender, but he has been nudged by the other two. So who wins? Voters are probably skittish about giving another Oscar to someone playing a singer (Rami Malek won with “Bohemian Rhapsody”). That gives Fraser a bump and, quite likely, the night’s biggest tearfest. While he has been open at other awards shows, the Oscars could really be a night to remember. We’re going with Brendan Fraser. Austin Butler still has time.
Best actress • Once more, down to two: Michelle Yeoh (“EEAAO”) and Cate Blanchett (“Tar”). Interestingly, Blanchett has been touting Yeoh wherever she goes. A Yeoh win would certain be historic. She’d become the first Asian woman to win best actress. Blanchett, meanwhile, would join the hallowed three-timers club if she wins (she already has two Oscars). Because there’s certainly time for a third (or fourth) Oscar, we think Yeoh is the one to beat. Blanchett could do it, but that’s like Adele telling Beyoncé the Grammy belongs to her. Michelle Yeoh, best actress.
Best picture • The only film that could beat “Everything Everywhere All at Once” at this point is “Top Gun: Maverick.” Tom Cruise’s blockbuster is often credited as the one that brought audiences back to movie theaters. And it was pretty spectacular. But it’s a sequel, and they rarely win. “EEAAO” checks box after box after box. Get your hot dog fingers up and start applauding: “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” best picture.
What 95th Oscars • When 7 p.m. March 12 • Where ABC • More info abc.com/shows/oscars