‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Sweeps Spirit Awards

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Sweeps Spirit Awards
Mar 2023

The genre-bending film won seven awards out of its eight nominations, including best feature, best director and best lead performance.

Everything Everywhere All At Once was the big winner at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, winning seven awards out of its eight nominations.

The genre-bending film won best feature, and Michelle Yeoh won best lead performance, while Stephanie Hsu won best breakthrough performance and Ke Huy Quan won best supporting performance, beating out his co-star Jamie Lee Curtis. The filmmaking duo Daniels also won best screenplay and best director, while Paul Rogers won best editing for the film.

Through tears, Yeoh said, "The Daniels, my boys, thank you for writing such an incredible script that gave us the opportunity to be here to be seen to be heard. And I want to dedicate this to all our mothers. Without our mothers, none of us would be here. ... Thank you to all of you for believing in us and giving us a seat at the table. And for all the little girls and boys who look like us and think that it is possible, thank you."

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"Without our community, our families, and the independent film community, the script would've never become what it is," Daniel Kwan said after winning best screenplay, while Daniel Scheinert added, "Screenplays are hard to read sometimes and ours was especially scary to read, so thank you to everyone who believed in it."

Hsu, in her speech, said through tears, "I came from the world of downtown experimental theater, and it is one of my biggest prides to be from that community, knowing how to make something out of nothing. This is my first-ever individual award, and it feels incredibly appropriate that it is in this room. ... I want to thank A24 for keeping independent films hot and alive." She concluded: "I hope I get to take this today less as an award, as a symbol of winning, but I hope that this can protect me in this moment of breaking through, that it can act as a talisman to protect that freak flag, that desire to help make and to offer stories that help us grow as a society and community in the best way that we don't know how."

The ceremony was hosted by Hasan Minhaj, who opened by telling the audience that he definitely was not paid as much as Jerrod Carmichael, who during his hosting gig at the 2023 Golden Globes said he got $500,000 for the emcee job. "I am literally making 1/1,000 of what he made," Minhaj said. "They literally handed me a Starbucks gift card and they were like, 'Hey man, just use what's left on it.'"

After Quan won the first award of the night, the award for best documentary was presented next, which went to All The Beauty and the Bloodshed, directed by Laura Poitras. Best international film went to Joyland (Pakistan/USA), while best first screenplay went to John Patton Ford for Emily the Criminal.

On the TV side, Abbott Elementary, The Bear, Severance and Station Eleven were tied for the most nominations with three apiece. The first TV award of the night was best supporting performance in a new scripted series, which went to Ayo Edebiri from Hulu's The Bear. In total, The Bear won two awards, the other one being best new scripted series, the most for a TV show this year.

"I grew up, and there weren't people who looked like me or felt like me," Edebiri said during her acceptance speech. "This is really nice because I'm in a room full of a lot of people, who I really admire and looked up to, but there's also a lot of people who look like me and feel like me, and that's really nice."

The Truer Than Fiction Award, presented to an emerging director of nonfiction features who has not yet received significant recognition, was awarded to Reid Davenport for his film I Didn't See You There. The Someone to Watch Award, which recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition, went to Nikyatu Jusu for Nanny. The Producers Award, which honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films, went to Tory Lenosky, who most recently produced Resurrection. The John Cassavetes Award, given to the best feature made for under $1 million, was awarded to The Cathedral, which had a $200,000 budget.

Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary) presented the award for best scripted or documentary series, but first took the time to congratulate Edebiri, whom she lost to in the best supporting performance in a new scripted series category. The award went to The Rehearsal.

"Let me tell you a story for as long as it takes," Ralph said. "There were the dark ages of 1991 and the Independent Spirit Awards were five years old, and I entered that little hotel room. There was no brand attempt, there were not a whole lot of fabulous people, okay, maybe one or two, but I was in a sea of white people. And I was nominated best supporting actress in a film written by the great Charles Burnett. And I won!"

She added: "I used my acceptance speech to beg Hollywood to please recognize that maybe I was a winner, but I've represented thousands of winners who looked just like me, who would be there if they had only the chance, if they had only the script, if they had only the opportunity. So when I stand here tonight, having lost best supporting actress in television, to Ayo, I have to honestly say that's what change looks like."

The best cinematographer went to Tar's Florian Hoffmeister, which was the only award won for the film, which went into the night have seven nominations. Best first feature went to Charlotte Wells' Aftersun.

Quinta Brunson won the big acting TV award for her role in Abbott Elementary, telling the audience she didn't expect to win given the dress she wore. "I'm so honored to win this because of the spirit of my show and all that goes into it. We have a bunch of people who come from making things out of nothing and Abbott Elementary is made by people who make something out of nothing every day," she said. "We just got very fortunate to be supported by the studios and networks... I'm very used to making Instagram videos with nothing but my phone. That is how I got my start. So I do want to dedicate this award to whatever kid out there right now is making a video on TikTok and the rest of the kids are telling them that you're probably never going to win an award anywhere. If you care about it enough and you respect the craft and the craft is important to you, and you believe in it and study it, that little TikTok or whatever comes out at the time, I hope that you know that enough care for your craft, you can make it to win an award."

This year, Film Independent did away with gender-specific acting categories, replacing best actor/actress and supporting actor/actress with gender-neutral categories with the same combined number of nominees. The new categories, best lead performance and best supporting performance, each feature 10 nominees. "We don't care about your gender identity, as long as you're hot," Minhaj said during his monologue. "No uggos allowed! ... Honestly though, I really am glad that we're getting rid of gender categories because for the first time in history, all the men will know how all the women feel when they find out they're competing with Cate Blanchett."

Also during the ceremony, Sarah Polley's Women Talking received the Robert Altman Award, which is given to a film's director, casting director and ensemble cast. During her acceptance speech, Polley joked that the film was called "Women Are Talking," a reference to when Mark Wahlberg mistakingly called the film "Women Are Talking" at the SAG Awards last week. Pachinko received the award for best ensemble cast in a new scripted series.

See the full list of winners here. Check out the star-studded red carpet arrivals here.