The hallucinogenic Everything Everywhere All at Once dominated the 2023 awards season and was named Best Picture at the 95th Oscars on Mar. 11. But is it a stoner movie?
One anonymous Oscars voter commented about the film: "I’ve had many friends say, 'It’s a stoner movie!' Well, I’m a stoner and I couldn’t enjoy it. I had to start it four times... It’s just so nonsensical and convoluted."
That's how I experienced EEAAO. I started the movie in the middle and I had no idea what was going on. The second time I watched it from the beginning and I think I got a handle on the Metaverse and all the wild twists and turns. It's part Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, part Matrix. Just curl up and enjoy the futuristic action and dialogue.
Should Michelle Yeoh have won the Best Actress award over Tar's Cate Blanchett? Hell, yeah. I didn't watch Tar but I know Yeoh deserved the award. She was in Crouching Tiger 23 years ago. It's time for Yeoh, 60, who made history, as she noted in her acceptance, becoming the first Asian women to win one of the Academy Awards' most coveted prizes. There were multiple Asian winners at the Oscars.
It was a great year for epic films - from EEAAO to Steven Spielberg's family confessional The Fabelmans to the German take on All Quiet on the Western Front to the Elvis biopic to India's fantastic RRR to the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sequel and to others like Babylon, Amsterdam and Bardo that sadly were not as well received.
It happened to be a strong year for male directors. but let's not forget Sarah Polley's revelatory Women Talking (she won the Adapted Screenplay award), Charlotte Wells' Aftersun and Chinonye Chukwu's Till, to name a few by female directors. Best Actress winner Yeoh reminded the crowd in her speech: "Ladies, don't ever let anyone ever tell you you are past your prime."
People may not be totally back in movie theaters but there certainly are plenty of terrific films to draw them there.
2023 Oscars Highlights
• During host Jimmy Kimmel's monologue as the camera panned to the audience: "This is my favorite duo of the year: Steven Spielberg and Seth Rogen. What a pair. The Joe and Hunter Biden of Hollywood. Seth, what are you on right now? Be honest. Nothing? Mushrooms, right? Did you give one to Steven? Give him one. Let's see what happens. Maybe he'll make something crazy. Steven claims he's never even smoked weed, which I find hard to believe. You mean to tell me you were sober when you made a movie about an alien who eats Reese's Pieces all day and can't remember how to phone home? You were high as a bike when you made that movie."
• EEAAO pretty much swept with seven total awards. All Quiet followed with four. Brendan Fraser was a surprise winner of the Best Actor award over Elvis' Austin Butler. In the monologue, Kimmel noted that two actors from Encino Man - Fraser and EEAAO's Ke Huy Quan - were in the audience, joking: "What an incredible night this must be for the two of you and what a very difficult night for Pauly Shore." The three actors all starred in Encino Man in 1992. Fraser and Quan walked away with 2023 Oscars, Fraser for The Whale over Butler and EEAAO's Quan for Supporting Actor.
• Elizabeth Banks was accompanied by Cocaine Bear as she presented the award for Visual Effects. "The coke is not real," the film's director quipped. "It's visual effects."
• Rihanna performed "Lift Me Up," the theme from Wakanda Forever. It lost to RRR's "Naatu Naatu," which also was performed, bringing Bollywood excitement to the Oscar stage.
• Kimmel shot a zinger at Paul Rogers, who took the statue for Best Editing for EEAAO: "He edited the whole thing tripping on ayahuasca."
• Shrinking star Harrison Ford gave out the final award of the evening for Best Picture.