How Everything, Everywhere Turned From Indie Intrigue To Awards Juggernaut

At this point, it’s pretty hard to argue with Everything Everywhere, All At Once’s hold on the 2023 film awards circuit. 158 honors from various major awards shows and review groups, it passes The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the most awarded film in Hollywood history – which means more awards are pretty much inevitable as he’s heading to this weekend’s Oscars with 11 nominations in the leadincluding Best Picture.

But he wasn’t always positioned as an awards darling. Sure, it has beloved stars like Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan (both of whom have long scored Oscar nominations), but that comes from the Daniels’ writer/director duo – previously best known for making a movie on Daniel Radcliffe’s Farting Corpse – and its sci-fi/genre bend makes it an outlier among some of the most mainstream awards favourites.

Not only that, but Everything Everywhere had the distinct disadvantage of being published all the way back in March, meaning he was expected to stick in the minds of voters for an entire year. So how did they do it?

A24, the indie studio behind Everything Everywhere, declined to comment on its rewards strategy, but we looked back to determine how far the beloved sleeper hit got to where it is today.

December 14, 2021: Trailer debuts and picks up steam

It’s hard to make a splash in today’s cinematic landscape if you’re not promoting an entry into a major franchise, but Everything Everywhere All At Once did just that with its mind-blowing first trailer. It’s hard to keep track of how much attention it garnered with that initial debut, but the trailer now has 23 million views on A24’s YouTube channel alone.

But of course it was not the TRUE beginning of Tout Partout; Daniel Scheinert told Vulture that he and co-director Daniel Kwan “began researching the multiverse in 2010,” inspired by the documentary Sherman’s March. It wasn’t until March 2022 that he finally saw the light of day in full…at SXSW.

March 11, 2022: Everything, Everywhere, All at Once opens SXSW to rave reviews

The film festival circuit is where Oscar campaigns really begin, and Austin’s SXSW festival is the next big thing after Sundance. SXSW in particular had an impressive slate of opening night films, including 2019’s Us by Jordan Peele, 2018’s A Quiet Place, and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves for its upcoming 2023 run. Everything Everywhere were enough to stoke the early excitement.

But the proof is in the pudding (or, er, hot dog fingers?), and the rave reviews immediately started rolling in. IGN was among the first to call it a masterpiece in our opinion 10/10 out of the festival, with Rafael Motamayor writing that it’s “a complex film that encompasses a variety of subjects, but it does justice to all of them with a carefully written script, wonderful performances and a healthy dose of quirky humor to counter its dark history.

But we were far from the only ones.

“Everything Everywhere All At Once is the most fun I’ve had at the movies…ever,” tweeted critic Karl Delossantos after the premiere of SXSW. It is a “magical triumph of cinematic storytelling”, added Trace Thurman.

“Deranged. Hyperkinetic. Infinitely energetic. Heartfelt. Focused,” delighted Richard Whittaker.

At this point, the hype was undeniable, at least among filmmaking circles.

January 24, 2023: Everything Everywhere earns 11 Oscar nominations and begins award sweeps

Everything Everywhere began garnering accolades in late 2022 with year-end reviewer lists (earning own Best Film of the Year Award), but the real big leagues are the Oscar nominations, where he scored a leader 11 nominations. And that’s on top of the awards he’s been collecting for months now.

Among his most prestigious victories: Golden Globes for Yeoh and Quan, a sweep at the Screen Actors Guild Awards with four trophies, seven wins at the Independent Spirit Awards and first prize at the Directors Guild and Writers Guild Awards. It also won Best Picture at the Producers Guild Awards, which is often seen as a strong Oscar predictor because much of its voting base overlaps with that of the Academy.

In short, the odds are good for Yeoh, Quan, the Daniels, and A24 heading into the big weekend, and that alone is pretty extraordinary. A year ago, the cast attempted to concisely explain its admittedly WTF premise — “The thing is, in short, how do you explain this movie? I did it and I still don’t know what it is” Yeoh joked to IGN at the time.

Now, almost everyone knows about this veritable multiverse of madness. In many ways — from its undeniable financial success to its passionate following to its pre-Oscars pedigree — it’s already won.

Alex Stedman is senior editor at IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons and Dragons.

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