The Beginning of a New Hollywood after Historic Wins at Oscars
Courtesy of Gilbert Flores/Variety
By Eden Ingram
The Oscars made history at its 95th anniversary with Everything, Everywhere All at Once (2022) sweeping multiple categories, winning a total of seven awards out of their eight nominations, which is the most awards won by a film since Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.
This year’s award ceremony was a celebration of inclusivity and representation in films, giving fans and aspiring actors a glimmer of hope for the next generation of Hollywood. Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win Best Actress, and Ke Huy Quan became the first Asian man to win Best Supporting Actor for the film.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that…dream big, and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you are ever past your prime. Never give up,” Yeoh said when accepting her award. Yeoh was remarkably handed this award by Halle Berry, who received and became the first African American woman to receive an Oscar in 2002.
Quan was overwhelmed and filled with emotion when accepting his award, saying, “Mom, I just won an Oscar!” He went on to say, “My journey started on a boat…I spent a year in a refugee camp and somehow I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage… They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This, this, is the American Dream.”
Quan made his first film debut when he was only 12 years old, in Steven Spielberg’s 1984 blockbuster film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, eventually landing him his role in the 1985 adventure film, The Goonies. Quan took a break from acting because of difficulty landing jobs and the lack of opportunities for Asian actors in Hollywood. During his acceptance speech he said, “Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive.”
Spielberg beamed in the audience as he watched Quan accept the prestigious award. Quan credits Spielberg as the reason he fell in love with acting, for giving him his first opportunity and believing in him more than 30 years ago. Quan ended the emotional night by reuniting with his co-star Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and shared a heartwarming hug and embrace with him on stage as Everything, Everywhere All at Once won the final award for Best Picture.
The notorious Jamie Lee Curtis from Halloween (1978) and Freaky Friday (2003) won Best Supporting Actress for Everything, Everywhere All at Once, citing her win to the love and support of her family and friends, saying, “We just won an Oscar.” Although many fans were eagerly hoping for Angela Bassett to win the award for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), she became the first actress in a Marvel film to be nominated for the award.
The friends drawn together by their love of filmmaking, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinhert, won Best Director and Best Writing (Original Screenplay) for the film. Scheinhert expressed gratitude to his parents for allowing him to express his creativity and experiment with films as a child, and Kwan thanked his family and friends as well, saying, “There is greatness in every single person, it doesn’t matter who they are. If you have a genius that is waiting to erupt, you just need to find the right people to unlock that.” Additionally, Paul Rogers won Best Film Editing for the film.
The classic German war film, All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) and comedy-drama film set off the coast of Ireland, The Banshees of Inisherin (2022), came close behind Everything, Everywhere All at Once, with each earning a total of nine nominations. All Quiet on the Western Front won a total of four awards, including Best International Film. Although The Banshees of Inisherin did not win any awards, it was one of the films nominated for Best Picture. An Irish Goodbye (2022) received Best Live Action Short Film Award. The film’s directors, Ross White and Tom Berkeley, accepted the award with actors James Martin and Seamus O’Hara. White and Berkeley said, “This award is actually the second most important thing about today, because it’s this man’s birthday…He’s out here in Hollywood, wearing a leopard print suit jacket, we’d love to use the rest of our time up here to sing for James.” The audience erupted in sound, singing “Happy Birthday” for James Martin, who is the first actor with Down Syndrome to receive an Oscar. Ahead of the ceremony, Martin said that winning an Oscar would “put the icing on my birthday cake.”
The other notable highlights of the night included Brenden Fraser winning Best Actor for The Whale (2022), who played alongside Yeoh in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), and Quan in Encino Man (1992).
Ruth E. Carter, a member of the first African American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, won Best Costume Design for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Carter became the first African American woman to win two Oscars. Women Talking (2022), based on a novel about women in an isolated religious colony who reveal the hard truths and experiences of their lifestyle, won Best Adapted Screenplay, and Guillermo Del Toro won Best Animated Feature for his animated film, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022). Toro’s speech was very heartfelt, as he thanked his parents for all their sacrifices and expressed the importance of animation, saying, “Animation is cinema…Keep animation in the conversation.”
The performance of “Naatu Naatu,” introduced by Deepika Padukone, from the Indian film RRR (2022), received a standing ovation for its beautiful performance by singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava alongside about 20 dancers. The performance proved how essential and incredibly powerful dancing is for films because it inspires and captivates crowds.
Finally, Lady Gaga gave a surprise performance of her song “Hold My Hand,” which was nominated for Best Song for Top Gun: Maverick (2022), and dedicated her performance to the late director Tony Scott, saying, “We all need each other. We need a lot of love to walk through this life. We need heroes sometimes. There’s heroes all around us…You might find that you can be your own hero, even if you feel broken inside.” Overall, this year’s ceremony was an exciting night filled with memorable achievements, heartfelt speeches, and actors and directors making Oscar history.