I wasn’t sure if “Everything Everywhere All at Once” could win best picture, but I might be convinced now.
The A24 multiverse comedy had a fantastic night at the Critics’ Choice Awards, winning five statuettes including best picture, supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, director and original screenplay for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert and editing for Paul Rogers. All is happening as Oscar nomination voting is underway, closing on Tuesday.
The three-hour ceremony, very well emceed by host Chelsea Handler, provided different results from the Golden Globes winners, where “The Fabelmans” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” led the tally. Both movies were virtually shut out of the CCA, with “Fabelmans” only taking young actor for Gabriel LaBelle (a potential contender for a best actor nomination?) and nothing for “Banshees.” The only other Globe repeats aside from Bassett and Quan, were Cate Blanchett in best actress and original song for the “RRR” number “Naatu Naatu.”
Worth noting: CCA members are not AMPAS voters. However, you would have to go back to 2004 — when Martin Scorsese won directing for “The Aviator” and “Sideways” won best picture and both supporting races — to find CCA winners that were far misaligned from the Academy’s.
Here are the four things I learned from the Critics’ Choice winners.
Daniels did what they needed to do to get a directing Oscar nod.
Call it being cautiously optimistic or mild awards PTSD from seeing the directors’ branch pass on Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight” and “Inception”), Ben Affleck (“Argo”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star is Born”) and others; they can be high-brow about who they let into their “exclusive” club. Seeing the Daniels beat the likes of Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”) was a powerful statement for their campaign. I’ve been reluctant to predict the auteur duo in the category. Still, it would be tragic to see them omitted, especially given they lead the precursors with nearly two dozen wins this season. I might be on board.
Brendan Fraser is going to be hard to beat.
I love awards ceremonies, but I hardly get emotional when watching or attending. Fraser’s CCA win for “The Whale,” capped with his emotional “get to your feet, and go to the light” had me, and the rest of the room, verklempt. The comeback story of the year continues to deliver, with the film surging following its PGA nom and strong SAG showing, including Hong Chau.
Fellow nominees Austin Butler (“Elvis”) and Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), who both won Golden Globes, are still very competitive. SAG will tell us what we need to know (maybe).
Cate Blanchett may have won, but she might have overplayed her hand in her acceptance speech.
Blanchett picked up her third CCA statuette for “Tár,” a particularly interesting development given the big night that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” had overall. I caught a beautiful moment when Blanchett made her way to Michelle Yeoh’s table to greet her and catch up before their category was called. However, on a night palpable with energy and joy, Blanchett’s speech, calling on the industry to “stop the televised horse race of it all,” hit a bit of a sour note with social media and people in the room.
We’ve heard the “awards shows are bullshit” talking points, once said by Joaquin Phoenix. But what we also see are those same figures, front and center at the ceremonies that are honoring them. Blanchett is a two-time Oscar winner, for “The Aviator” (2004) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013), now on the cusp of possibly winning a third acting prize, something only seven people in history have done. On top of that, there’s a good chance she will achieve this feat against a field composed of women of color. In 94 years of Oscar winners for best actress, one Black woman (Halle Berry) has won; zero Asians or Latinas have. When you’re actively campaigning to win an award from the same “patriarchal pyramid” you’re slamming, it doesn’t seem genuine and comes off as ungrateful.
And for this reason, Michelle Yeoh is still in the thick of the race. Your move, SAG.
The supporting categories are sewn up.
Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) walked away with their respective supporting categories; I’m not sure anything can stop them. The room ignited with excitement when both took the stage.
Bassett’s long career and moving speeches have given her the boost to make history as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first acting nominee, as well potentially the oldest Black woman to ever win for acting. Quan’s comeback is the story we hope to see every awards season. His likely win would make him the second Asian Oscar winner for supporting actor, after Haing S. Ngor for “The Killing Fields” (1984), and fifth ever for any acting category.
See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.