Dimension-hopping adventure "Everything Everywhere All at Once" grabbed the top movie honor at the Screen Actors Guild awards on Sunday, cementing its status as the front-runner for the prestigious best picture prize at next month's Oscars. The movie about a Chinese-American laundromat owner struggling to finish her taxes amid family turmoil has claimed a pile of trophies in recent weeks at the Hollywood awards ceremonies leading up to the Academy Awards on March 12.
On Sunday, the cast of "Everything Everywhere" was named best film ensemble by members of the SAG-AFTRA acting union. SAG's film honorees are closely watched because actors comprise the largest group of Oscar voters. The science-fiction movie also earned awards for lead female actor Michelle Yeoh, who portrays laundry owner Evelyn Wang, and supporting actors Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
An overwhelmed Yeoh spoke through tears - and a few expletives - as she accepted her trophy. "This is not just for me. This is for every little girl that looks like me," Yeoh said. "Thank you for giving me a seat at the table."
Quan - who as a child star had a featured role in a 1984 "Indiana Jones" film, but had given up on acting for years - said he was the first Asian to win in the category. "When I stepped away from acting it was because there were so few opportunities," the Vietnamese-American actor said. "The landscape looks so different now than before. Thank you to everyone in this room who contributed to these changes."
When the cast took the stage for the ensemble award, Yeoh handed the microphone to 94-year-old James Hong, who played her father in the film. In the early days of his career, Hong recounted, producers said, "Asians were not good enough. And they are not box office.
"But look at us now." "Everything Everywhere" previously scored the top accolades at the Directors Guild and Producers Guild awards. The movie also is a commercial success, selling more than $107 million worth of tickets. It is the highest-grossing movie ever for film distributor A24.
The SAG award for best male movie actor went to Brendan Fraser for playing a reclusive, severely obese man trying to reconnect with his daughter in "The Whale." An emotional Fraser said his younger self "never would have believed that I would have been offered the role of my life" of Charlie, the man in the "Whale" who "is on a raft of regrets in a sea of hope."
"I've been on that sea and I've rode that wave," he said. In television categories, the cast of "Abbott Elementary," a mockumentary about teachers at an underfunded school in Philadelphia, won best TV comedy ensemble.
"The White Lotus" cast landed the drama series award for the show's second season, set in Italy, about wealthy vacationers and the staff who served them at a ritzy resort. Sally Field, 76, received a lifetime achievement award for an acting career that began nearly 60 years ago with TV hits "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun" before an Oscar-winning film run that took her from "Norma Rae" to "Steel Magnolias" to "Forrest Gump" to "Lincoln."
"There is not a day that I don’t feel quietly thrilled to call myself an actor,” she said.
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