Dimension-hopping adventure Everything Everywhere All at Once has taken the top honours at the Screen Actors Guild awards, cementing its status as the frontrunner for the prestigious best picture prize at next month’s Oscars.
The film about a Chinese-American family undergoing a tax audit who end up fighting a universe-hopping super-villain also won best actress for Michelle Yeoh, best supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, and best supporting actress for Jamie Lee Curtis.
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An overwhelmed Yeoh spoke through tears – and a few expletives – as she accepted her trophy.
“This is not just for me. This is for every little girl that looks like me,” said Yeoh, who was born and brought up in Malaysia. “Thank you for giving me a seat at the table.”
Quan – who as a child star had a featured role in a 1984 Indiana Jones film, but had given up on acting for years – noted he was the first Asian to win in the category.
“When I stepped away from acting, it was because there were so few opportunities,” the Vietnamese-American actor said. “The landscape looks so different now than before. Thank you to everyone in this room who contributed to these changes.”
When the cast took the stage for the ensemble award, Yeoh handed the microphone to 94-year-old James Hong, who played her father in the film.
In the early days of his career, Hong recounted that producers said Asians were “not good enough” and had white actors tape their eyes to play “Asian” roles.
“But look at us now,” he said, to a huge ovation.
The SAG prizes from the actors’ union round out a month in which Everything Everywhere has won best film from directors’ and producers’ groups too, making it a firm favourite for next month’s Oscars, which take place on March 12.
SAG’s film winners, chosen by more than 120,000 members of Hollywood’s acting union, are closely watched because actors make up the largest group of Oscar voters.
Everything Everywhere has taken a slew of top honours, including at the Directors Guild and Producers Guild. The movie also is a commercial success, with ticket sales exceeding $107m worth. It is the highest-grossing movie ever for film distributor A24.
The SAG award for best male movie actor went to Brendan Fraser, the only performer from a film other than Everything Everywhere to win a film prize on Sunday.
Fraser, one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in the late 1990s and early 2000s with hits like The Mummy, endured a long fallow period before taking on the role of a reclusive, severely obese man trying to reconnect with his daughter in The Whale.