Michelle Yeoh accepts the Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role during the 95th Oscars

Source: Blaine Ohigashi / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Michelle Yeoh accepts the Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role during the 95th Oscars

Everything Everywhere All At Once capped its triumphant awards season with seven Oscars – including best picture, best directors and three acting prizes - at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday night (March 12). 

Apparently reflecting the taste of a younger, more international Academy voting body, the multiverse comedy became the first film to win seven Oscars since Gravity in 2013; and first best picture winner to take more than four awards since The Artist’s five in 2012.

As well as the directing and original screenplay wins for ‘the Daniels’ - Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – the indie hit also produced wins for Michelle Yeoh as lead actress, Jamie Lee Curtis as supporting actress, Ke Huy Quan as supporting actor and editor Paul Rogers. Producer Jonathan Wang shared the best picture award with the Daniels. 

The success also made it a big night for Everything… backer and US distributor A24, whose films ended up with a total of nine Oscars including two for The Whale - best actor for Brendan Fraser and best makeup and hairstyling.

All Quiet On The Western Front, which went into the ceremony with nine nominations and a strong showing at the Baftas, emerged with four Oscars, including its widely expected award for best international feature. Netflix, backer of the German war epic, came out of the evening with five awards. 

The Banshees Of Inisherin was unsuccessful in all nine of its nominations, in contrast to its four-award showing at the Baftas.

Among other films with multiple nominations, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way Of Water and Women Talking all had to make do with a single Oscar each.

Whale surprise

In an evening with many anticipated winners, The Whale provided a moment of surprise when Brendan Fraser won the lead actor Oscar over Elvis star Austin Butler, who had won the equivalent Bafta last month.

Yeoh’s win as lead actress had become more likely after the big showing at the Screen Actors Guild awards by the Everything cast and it kept early favourite Cate Blanchett (another Bafta honouree) from winning her third Oscar for Tar. Yeoh became the first Asian woman and second woman of colour (after Halle Berry) to win in the category. 

In the animated feature category, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio got its widely predicted Oscar adding to the night’s Netflix tally; while Daniel Roher’s Navalny won CNN Films its first ever Oscar, in best documentary feature.

From a large contingent of British nominees, James Friend won the cinematography Oscar for his work on All Quiet… and Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud accepted the statuette for animated short for The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse

From the big Irish nominee cohort, only Tom Berkeley and Ross White took home Oscars after winning for their live-action short An Irish Goodbye.

India got two moments in the spotlight, with M M Keeravaani and Kanukuntla Subhash Chandrabose winning best song for their RRR favourite ‘Naatu Naatu’ and Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga winning best documentary short for The Elephant Whisperers

Held at the Dolby Theatre at the Ovation Hollywood shopping centre, the 2023 show went off without controversy, although as usual overshot its planned three-hour running time by more than 30 minutes. 

In his opening monologue, returning host Jimmy Kimmel made a run of jokes about last year’s infamous slap and the Oscar win for Will Smith that followed it. “If anyone commits an act of violence,” Kimmel joked, “you will be given the award for best actor and permitted to give a 19-minute-long speech.” 

The ceremony began with Kimmel appearing to parachute into the theatre from a Top Gun jet, with real US navy jets making a flyby above Hollywood Boulevard. 

The night also included a lively rendition of ‘Naatu Naatu’ and a surprise performance by Lady Gaga, who had been expected to miss the event, of her nominated Top Gun: Maverick song ‘Hold My Hand’.