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Bizarre, beloved ‘Everything Everywhere’ wins best picture Oscar

In the end, its victory was utterly predictable and yet still totally implausible.

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” — a wacky sci-fi featuring hot dog fingers, sex toys, bagels and talking rocks — on Sunday became surely the most absurd film ever to win the Oscar for best picture.

With its unique blend of action, humor and existential angst, the adventure of a Chinese American laundromat owner battling a multiverse-hopping supervillain entered the Academy Awards as the clear favorite.

It had dominated nearly every Hollywood awards ceremony in the buildup to the Oscars, and led the nominations for Sunday night’s gala with 11.

It ultimately fended off rivals such as Steven Spielberg’s intimate memoir “The Fabelmans,” Tom Cruise’s blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” and acclaimed tragicomedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” to claim Tinseltown’s most coveted prize.

“If our movie has greatness and genius, it’s only because they have greatness and genius flowing through their hearts and souls and minds,” co-director Daniel Kwan said of his cast and crew.

Overall the film won seven prizes: best picture, best director, best actress, best original screenplay, best editing, and both the best supporting actor and actress prizes.

A joyful tour-de-force in which dildos are used as nunchucks and an everything bagel represents a black hole of nihilism, “Everything Everywhere” could hardly be further from the classic Oscar canon.

Yet the modestly budgeted independent film not only found success with Hollywood and film industry voters, but with mainstream audiences, earning a whopping $100 million at the global box office.

It chronicles the unlikely odyssey of Evelyn Wang (played by Michelle Yeoh), an immigrant businesswoman who is overwhelmed by strained family relations and financial woes.

During a tax audit, the existence of parallel universes is suddenly revealed to her by forces who insist she holds the key to saving the entire multiverse from an evil force.

This shadowy threat turns out to be none other than the alter ego of her depressed lesbian daughter Joy (Stephanie Hsu).

She must harness the wide-ranging powers of other Evelyns living vastly different lives in their own distant but inter-connected universes, from martial arts to opera singing.

In witnessing the myriad paths she did not take, this ordinary mother questions whether her life could have been more meaningful — and whether she and her family would have been happier.

– ‘Bulldozed by the emotion’ –

While it is packed with pop culture references and bizarre conceits — not least a universe in which human fingers have been replaced by hot dogs — “Everything Everywhere” has deeply emotional, heartfelt messages at its core.

Audiences and voters “gave our movie a chance” and “got past the kind of things that were going to be ‘too edgy’ for them,” producer Jonathan Wang recently told AFP.

“And then they were bulldozed by the emotion of it.”

Yeoh has said…

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