‘Everything Everywhere’ stars rejoice as film leads Oscar nominations: ‘Make art that leads us to heal each other’

An illustration of Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in "Everything Everywhere All at Once."
Oscar nominees Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Illustration by Freya Betts / For The Times
(Freya Betts / For The Times)

Genre-blending action hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” scored a leading 11 Oscar nominations — best picture, director, original screenplay, editing, costume, score, song, supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan, supporting actress for both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, and lead actress for Michelle Yeoh — in a record-breaking year for acting nominees of Asian descent.

Joining castmates and crew over Zoom from London on Tuesday morning, Yeoh found herself feeling — yes — everything, everywhere, all at once. After a nearly 40-year career overseas and several attempts to break into Hollywood, the Malaysian-born actor (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Crazy Rich Asians”) felt her iron nerves rattling.

“It was scary and terrifying!” Yeoh said with a laugh by phone following her career-first Academy Award nod. “Jonathan Wang, our producer, was like, ‘We’re all winners, we came this far.’ I was like, ‘F off!’ If I don’t get nominated, I’m not walking out the door for the next year because so many people have said, ‘You’d better get this for us! You’re going to do this!’”


Ahead of the 95th Academy Awards, A24’s multiverse-hopping critical darling earned more nominations than any other film. Yeoh could become the first Asian lead actress winner in Academy history. With “The Whale’s” Hong Chau, 2023 marks the highest number of acting nominations for Asian talent since 2004, when there were three.

Here are the nominees for the 2023 Academy Awards in all categories, announced live Tuesday from the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills.

Jan. 24, 2023

Netflix’s war epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Searchlight Pictures’ dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” tied for the second-most number of nods with nine apiece.

“Everything Everywhere’s” nomination domination told Yeoh that the film, about a Chinese American immigrant who learns that only she can save the multiverse, resonated with audiences. “And that is what was most important to us, because it is a movie about family, love and compassion.” She hopes that the healing of rifts between Evelyn, daughter Joy (Hsu) and husband Waymond (Quan) at the heart of the film is a balm to anyone who needs it in times of “tragedy and turmoil.”

“This is an ordinary woman that you would walk past without giving her a second glance, but somehow she’s able to save the universe,” said Yeoh. Oscar kudos, she added, are “the cherry on the cake.” “It’s like at the end of a play when the curtains go up and you take your bow. This is where everybody comes and pats you on the back and goes, ‘Bravo.’ So thank you for the bravo. I’m taking the roses!”

Hsu was flying back to Los Angeles from Sydney, Australia, where she’s been filming a movie, when she started getting messages about her Oscar nomination. She celebrated the moment in her seat, where she rewatched the film to reflect on the experience of making it. “At the opening scene where the family is singing in the mirror, I was already hysterically crying,” she said with a laugh.

“This movie is the most honest handshake I could make with Hollywood,” Hsu said, citing her mentor, the late theater writer and director Elizabeth Swados. “To be an artist is a huge responsibility because you have the power to be in communication with a mass amount of people. So make art that is surprising. Make art that leads us to heal each other and ourselves, and hopefully guide us towards a better humanity.”


“I feel so proud of our movie because it has provided that for so many people,” she said. “It’s my wildest dream of what I ever hope any project can do.”

How will she celebrate? “I really want breakfast first, and then I want to go on a long walk. I want to take a second to let it all sink in and bask in gratitude.”

Following its critical and box office successes, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” leads Oscar nominations.

Jan. 24, 2023

At home in Los Angeles, Quan set an alarm to make sure he didn’t miss the squad video chat — then screamed, jumped for joy and got emotional as the nominations rolled in, including his own for supporting actor. After quitting acting for decades after starring in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” and “Goonies” as a child, his return to acting — and Tuesday’s milestone — felt surreal and emotional.

“For years I watched the Oscars and imagined what it was like to be on the red carpet, to be in that room, to be nominated — and when I had to step away from acting, that dream dissipated. It went further and further away, and I didn’t think it would ever come back,” he said. “I’m so grateful to the academy for this incredible honor.”

Hearing his name called during the announcement was especially meaningful because as a young actor he was urged to change it to get more work.

“My birth name is Ke Huy Quan, and when I was not getting any jobs, there weren’t any roles for me, my manager at the time said, ‘Maybe if you changed your name to an American-sounding name, more opportunities will come.’ So I did exactly that. And still there was nothing,” said Quan. Giving acting another shot a few years ago, the first thing he did was change his name back.


“Because that’s my family name — it comes with this heritage,” he said. “To hear ‘Ke Huy Quan’ mentioned along with those amazing actors is so special to me, because it’s a name that I love. It’s not somebody else suggesting it just so I can get more work. It feels amazing, and I hope my story inspires other people to continue to dream and to never give up, and one day it will happen to them.”

Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert a.k.a. Daniels each nabbed three Oscar nominations, for original screenplay, director and best picture as producers alongside Jonathan Wang. Costume designer Shirley Kurata, composer Son Lux and editor Paul Rogers also earned noms, as did songwriters Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski for song nominee “This Is a Life.”

The film followed an unlikely path to awards glory. Debuting last March after making its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival — not typically a launching pad for major awards players — it is the rare Oscar front-runner to premiere early in the calendar year. The film also stars James Hong, Harry Shum Jr. and Jenny Slate.

The 2023 Oscars will be held March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.