By The New York Times
The Screen Actors Guild handed its top award for outstanding cast Sunday night to “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the hit sci-fi comedy that recently dominated the Directors and Producers Guild awards and now appears to be a strong best picture front-runner at the Oscars. Three of the four individual acting trophies went to “Everything Everywhere” cast members, too.
But will they also prevail with Oscar?
The safest bet to repeat is “Everything Everywhere” comeback kid Ke Huy Quan, who won the supporting-actor trophy from SAG and has been collecting statuettes in that category all season. During Sunday’s show, which aired live on YouTube and will stream exclusively on Netflix next year, the 51-year-old Quan delivered his most touching speech yet.
After rising to fame as a child actor in popular films like “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” Quan found few roles available for Asian actors and moved behind the camera, working in stunt choreography. Still, he paid his SAG dues every year, hoping and biding his time for the resurgence he’s finally experiencing.
“To all those at home who are watching, who are struggling and waiting to be seen,” Quan said, “please keep on going because the spotlight will one day find you.”
In an upset victory, Quan’s co-star Jamie Lee Curtis won the supporting-actress statuette over Golden Globe winner Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and BAFTA winner Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), suggesting that this may be the season’s most fluid acting race.
“I know you look at me and think nepo baby, and I totally get it,” said a thrilled Curtis. “But the truth of the matter is I’m 64 years old and this is just amazing!”
Later in the night, “Everything Everywhere” leading lady Michelle Yeoh won a crucial best-actress prize over “Tár” star Cate Blanchett, whom she acknowledged as a titan from the stage.
“Thank you for giving me a seat at the table because so many of us need this,” Yeoh told the crowd. “We want to be seen and we want to be heard, and tonight you have shown us that it is possible.”
Though the SAGs have honored Asian performers from TV shows, Yeoh was the first Asian woman to win best actress in a movie category, and Quan was the first Asian male actor to win for movies as well.
The only film actor to win who didn’t hail from “Everything Everywhere” was Brendan Fraser, who mounted a best-actor comeback with his transformational performance in “The Whale.” Though “Elvis” star Austin Butler earned best-actor prizes at BAFTA and the Golden Globes, Fraser wasn’t expected to win at the latter show, since he had publicly accused the former Globes head Philip Berk of groping him in 2003 and had said he wouldn’t attend the ceremony. (Berk denied the accusation.)
Like many of the night’s winners, Fraser spoke about the ups and downs of a Hollywood career: “I’ve rode that wave lately, and it’s been powerful and good,” he said, “and I’ve also had that wave smash me right down to the ocean floor.”
SAG’s track record with the Oscars is suggestive but spotty. Last year, all four SAG winners triumphed at the Oscars and Jessica Chastain’s SAG win for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” helped her vault to the front of a wide-open best-actress category. But the year before that, only two of the four SAG winners repeated at the Oscars.
But the strongest takeaway from this year’s SAG ceremony is that “Everything Everywhere,” which cost only $14.3 million and took in more than $100 million worldwide, is almost certainly headed for a best-picture victory: Of the films that earned top honors at the DGAs, the PGAs and the SAGs — that is, all three major guilds — only Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” (1995) failed to go the distance with Oscar.
When the season began, the “Everything Everywhere” directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan were surprised that their quirky film was generating awards chatter. But with two weeks left until Hollywood’s biggest night, the real surprise would be if anything but “Everything Everywhere” becomes the Oscars’ ultimate victor.
Here’s the complete list of winners:
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Actor in a Leading Role
Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”
Actress in a Leading Role
Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Actor in a Supporting Role
Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Actress in a Supporting Role
Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Stunt Ensemble in a Movie
“Top Gun: Maverick”
Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Ensemble in a Drama Series
“The White Lotus”
Actor in a Comedy Series
Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”
Actress in a Comedy Series
Jean Smart, “Hacks”
Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Actress in a Drama Series
Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”
Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Sam Elliott, “1883”
Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series
Jessica Chastain, “George & Tammy”
Stunt Ensemble in a TV Series
SAG Life Achievement Award