Los Angeles (AFP) – Absurdist sci-fi comedy “Everything Everywhere All At Once” continued its dominance of this year’s Hollywood award shows by earning top honors from the Screen Actors Guild on Sunday.
The film about a Chinese-American family undergoing a tax audit who end up fighting a universe-hopping supervillain also won best actress for Michelle Yeoh, best supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, and best supporting actress for Jamie Lee Curtis.
The movie’s 94-year-old patriarch James Hong stole the show at Sunday’s gala, collecting the night’s final prize of best cast in a motion picture — the star-studded ceremony’s equivalent of best film.
Hong reflected on how Hollywood once cast white actors with “their eyes taped up” to play leading Asian roles because producers thought “the Asians are not good enough and they are not box office.”
“But look at us now, huh?” 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 firm favorite for the Oscars next month.
Voted on by more than 120,000 members of Hollywood’s acting union, the SAG awards are an important precursor for the Academy Awards, whose largest voting bloc is also actors.
The Oscars will take place this year on March 12.
Other winners from the mainly Asian cast of “Everything Everywhere” also referred to Hollywood’s long struggle with diversity.
“This isn’t just for me, this is for every little girl who looks like me,” said Yeoh.
Quan, who after appearing as a child in 1984’s “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” took a long hiatus from acting because there “were so few opportunities,” noted he was the first Asian actor to win his category.
“When I heard this, I quickly realized that this moment no longer belongs to just me. It also belongs to everyone who has asked for change,” he said.
And Curtis addressed the recent “nepo baby” controversy, which has called out children of powerful industry figures and stars perceived to have received a leg up in their own careers.
“I know you look at me and think ‘nepo baby,’ that’s why she’s there, and I totally get it,” said the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh.
“But the truth of the matter is I’m 64 years old and this is just amazing,” said Curtis, lifting her SAG statuette to loud applause.
Brendan Fraser, who won best lead actor, was the only performer from a film other than “Everything Everywhere” to win a movie prize 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 being cast as a morbidly obese teacher in “The Whale.”
In the television sections, “The White Lotus” won the top drama prize, and “Abbott Elementary” was named best comedy ensemble.