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Daniels Win Everything Everywhere at Oscars

Daniel Scheinert shows Oscar to camera as Daniel Kwan looks off camera
Daniel Scheinert, left, shows off the Daniels’ Oscar for Best Original Screenplay on Sunday, March 12. The duo would go on to win Best Director and Best Picture. Photo/screen shot

Daniel Kwan ‘10 and Daniel Scheinert ’09 capped off a triumphant awards season by sweeping the Academy Awards with their madcap multiverse-hopping film, Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The Daniels, as they are known, took home Oscars Sunday, March 12, for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. In addition, the film’s star, Michelle Yeoh won Best Actress, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis won Best Supporting Actor and Actress, respectively, and Paul Rogers won for his work editing the film.  

“One of the best things we can do for each other is shelter each other from the chaos we live with,” Kwan said from the stage after Everything Everywhere All at Once won best picture. “Thank you to the storytellers here who did that for me… I have great faith in our stories.”

Upon winning Best Director, Scheinert dedicated their win to “all the mommies in the world,” and thanked his parents. “Thank you for not squashing my creativity when I was making disturbing horror films, or making really perverted comedy films, or dressing in drag as a kid which is a threat to nobody,” he said.

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“The world is opening up to the fact that genius does not stem from individuals like us on stage, but rather genius emerges from the collective,” said Kwan, who said “we are all products of our context,” and paid tribute to his immigrant parents, who passed on their love of movies and dreams of performing to him, his family, and his son.

“If you ever watch this, I hope you know you should never have to live up to this,” Kwan told his son while cradling his Oscar. “This is not normal.

He went on: “There is greatness in every single person. It doesn’t matter who you are, you have genius waiting to erupt.”

Earlier in the evening, when accepting the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Scheinert named senior affiliated faculty member Mirta Tocci and former Artist-in-residence Ken Cheeseman in a long list of teachers he wanted to thank.

Scheinert and Kwan speak on Oscar stage
Daniel Kwan speaks after winning Best Original Screenplay. Photo/screen shot

The film headed into Sunday night with 11 Oscar nominations and with an eye-popping 355 nominations and 336 wins overall, including 91 wins for the directing duo themselves. Kwan and Scheinert, who also wrote the film and were producers, picked up Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture wins from the Film Independent Spirit and Critics Choice Awards, as well as Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America awards.

Everything Everywhere All at Once’s largely Asian cast also dominated the major awards, marking a victory for representation in film. Yeoh made history as the first Asian woman to win a Best Actress Oscar, and Quan, a 1980s child actor who has said he quit acting for decades because he couldn’t find good parts for Asian men, has been celebrated in his comeback role.

A slew of Emersonians collaborated to make Everything Everywhere All at Once the creative juggernaut it became. Among them were Tallie Medel ’08, who played Becky in the film and won a Gold Derby Award for Ensemble Cast; and Sunita Mani ’08, who had a role as a TV musical queen.

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