The only film to score more than a single Gotham Award on Monday night was Everything Everywhere All at Once, which won Best Feature and the Outstanding Supporting Performance award for Ke Huy Quan. The second feature from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, a.k.a. Daniels (Swiss Army Man), stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Quan Wang, a worn-out laundromat owner who finds herself yanked from one parallel universe to the next and learns that she’s the key to saving all of them. “Yes,” wrote the New York Times’ A. O. Scott back in March, “the movie is a metaphysical multiverse galaxy-brain head trip, but deep down—and also right on the surface—it’s a bittersweet domestic drama, a marital comedy, a story of immigrant striving, and a hurt-filled ballad of mother-daughter love.”
From universe to universe, Evelyn keeps bumping into various versions of her husband, Waymond. “If Yeoh is the Daniels’ star attraction, Ke Huy Quan is their secret weapon,” writes Adam Nayman at the Ringer. “The former child actor who once played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Data in The Goonies—two seminal and legendarily problematic roles that helped define Asian representation for Gen-X audiences—ends up being the most inspired casting choice of the year.” Waymond is “a suave, soulful shape-shifter who oscillates between explaining the plot to Evelyn (and the audience) with mathematical precision and selling a bewilderment meant to mirror our own confusion in the face of so much accelerating, surrealist chaos.”
In the other gender-neutral acting categories, Danielle Deadwyler won Outstanding Lead Performance for her portrayal of civil rights activist Mamie Till-Mobley in Chinonye Chukwu’s Till and Gracija Filipović won the Breakthrough Performance award for her turn as a teenager trying to break away from her overbearing father in Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s Murina. Charlotte Wells won Breakthrough Director for Aftersun, a very different sort of father-and-daughter story, and Todd Field won Best Screenplay for Tár.
Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes, the only film to have won best documentary prizes at both Sundance and Cannes, kept its winning streak going with another Best Documentary Feature award. Facing down such strong contenders as Alice Diop’s Saint Omer and Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave, Audrey Diwan’s Happening, the winner of last year’s Golden Lion in Venice, won Best International Feature.
Among the television categories, the most intriguing competition was probably Breakthrough Nonfiction Series. The Last Movie Stars, Ethan Hawke’s documentary on Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward; Andrew Rossi’s The Andy Warhol Diaries, featuring a daring AI resurrection of the artist as its narrator; and Nathan Fielder’s much-debated The Rehearsal all lost out to stand-up comic W. Kamau Bell’s We Need to Talk About Cosby. The series sets Bill Cosby’s undeniable significance in Black American culture right next to the accusations of repeated sexual assault. As James Poniewozik wrote in the New York Times in February, the series “holds Cosby’s achievements and his wrongs close, and it recognizes that there may be unresolvable dissonance between the two.”
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