“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the most nominated film at the Oscars, won the most SAG Awards ever with four. Final voting begins on Thursday, March 2, and it’s no longer a question about whether the A24 sci-fi comedy will win best picture but how many statuettes it will take home. Probably a lot.
Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win a lead actress film award. Seeing her emotion take hold of her was heartwarming and long overdue for an actress that should have already been nominated for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) and “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018). However, her speech may not have been as boisterous or memorable as we would like, especially for someone competing with Cate Blanchett, after winning BAFTA, Critics Choice and Globes for “Tár.” However, her co-star James Hong may have brought it home for Yeoh with his rousing speech during the acceptance for the cast ensemble.
The 94-year-old veteran actor reminded the room (and industry) regarding its racist treatment of people of color and the struggle for the industry to evolve that still hasn’t seen East Asian actors win leading Oscars and other accolades. Add in Hong’s spot-on criticism of “The Good Earth” (1937), and that could be fresh on voters’ minds when they fill out their ballots.
Could Yeoh make up enough ground to overcome Blanchett, who’s won two Academy Awards previously for “The Aviator” (2004) and “Blue Jasmine” (2013)? Projections are too close to call.
I’ve long believed “Everything Everywhere” winning best picture and director would be what Yeoh needed to win the best actress Oscar. However, it turns out the key (pun intended) to winning was with her co-star Jamie Lee Curtis (and James Hong) all along.
Curtis, a former SAG nominee for “True Lies” (1994), which she attended with her mother, Janet Leigh, has been Yeoh’s most passionate cheerleader in this phase two period. That spirited championing has benefited her own campaign as seen by the 64-year-old veteran besting BAFTA winner Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and CCA and Globes recipient Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) at SAG.
A victory for Bassett seemed inevitable in the early days of the season. Now, with her movie missing the best picture nom, partnered with genre bias for superhero movies, the category has become more fluid, and Bassett’s possible Oscar moment may be in jeopardy.
For Condon, whose movie set a record for the most losses for a film in SAG history with five, she’s emerged as the best shot for “Banshees” to win anything at the Oscars. A victory for her is also probable, given Bassett and Curtis could divide the “veteran” vote, allowing Condon, who likely is getting a plurality of the international demographic, to come up the middle.
Regarding supporting actor Ke Huy Quan, the first Asian male to win an individual SAG film prize, he’s locked and loaded for the Academy. Emotional, grateful and joyful at a comeback that we don’t see too often, even with a shocking loss to Barry Keoghan at BAFTA.
Since the 2009 expansion, no best picture winner hasn’t won more than six Oscars. More importantly, only two movies in history have won three acting awards: “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) for Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden and Kim Hunter and “Network” (1976) with Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway and Beatrice Straight. Neither film won best picture.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s multiverse sensation has been the little engine that could since its debut at the South by Southwest Festival in March 2022. A likely winner at Saturday’s WGA Awards (where “Banshees” isn’t nominated due to ineligibility), it’ll be the first film since “Argo” (2012) to sweep the major guilds. However, Ben Affleck’s thriller did also win BAFTA and Globes, which “Everything Everywhere” lost to Netflix’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Searchlight’s “Banshees” respectively.
Concerning the best actor, Brendan Fraser’s golden moment for “The Whale” is hard to ignore and nearly impossible not to root against. Nevertheless, like Bassett, his film is not nominated for best picture. The lead actor category hasn’t seen a winner from a non-picture nominee since Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart” (2009). That statistic alone keeps hope alive for Globes and BAFTA winner Austin Butler (“Elvis”). Even Colin Farrell from “Banshees” isn’t entirely out of the question.
But will all these tearful wins translate to the 95th Oscars? The year of “Parasite” (2019) is the last awards year to have a perfect match with the Oscars’ acting and top category. Before that, “Birdman” (2014). In fact, this is also the first year since the 2002-2003 season not to have any acting winner sweep the four televised awards ceremonies: Critics Choice, Globes, SAG and BAFTA.
We’ll see which group the Academy favors. Voting begins Thursday and concludes on Tuesday, March 7.
To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.