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‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Should Have Another Good Weekend – But It Has a Quiet Rival, Too

With today’s Academy, even wins at the Spirit Awards and Writers Guild can’t completely seal the deal for the Oscar frontrunner


Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is probably going to win some awards this weekend. And if it does, it’ll enter rarefied territory that virtually guarantees that it’ll win the Best Picture Oscar on March 12.

Then again, that guarantee assumes that precedent still means something in today’s Academy, which has been so dramatically transformed that precedent seems to mean less and less each year.

At any rate, the crowded penultimate weekend of this awards season begins on Saturday with the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the USC Libraries Scripter Awards and the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards. Of those, the biggest is the Spirit Awards, which went 24 years without matching the Oscars with its best-film winner but since 2011 has matched seven times in 12 years.

These days, Spirit Award voters almost unerringly vote for the nominee that has the best chance at the Oscars, and “Everything Everywhere” is exactly the kind of movie they like to reward – so odds are strong that the film will dominate the Saturday afternoon ceremony, even though it’s up against fellow Oscar nominees “Tár” and “Women Talking.”

Then, on Sunday, the Writers Guild of America, American Society of Cinematographers and American Cinema Editors will be handing out awards, with the first of those giving “Everything Everywhere” the opportunity to complete a rare grand slam. It’s favored to win the WGA’s original screenplay category over “The Menu,” “Nope” and Oscar nominees “The Fabelmans” and “Tár” – and if it does, it’ll become only the fifth film to win the top award from all four of the major Hollywood guilds.

“Everything Everywhere” has already won at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards and Producers Guild Awards, so a Writers Guild win will put it alongside “American Beauty,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Argo” as the only films to sweep those four awards. The first four all went on to win the Best Picture Oscar.

If it loses at the sometimes-unpredictable WGA, it’ll be one of nine films to win three out of the four; in that group, six films went on to take the Oscar, while “Apollo 13,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Little Miss Sunshine” fell short with the Academy.

“Everything Everywhere” has already beaten almost all of its top rivals – “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “The Fabelmans” – at awards shows whose voters overlap with the Academy. And, crucially, it’s done so using the ranked-choice voting system, which looks for a consensus favorite.

That system was thought to be a possible Achilles heel for the more divisive “Everything Everywhere” until it won at the Producers Guild, the only show other than the Oscars that uses it. Ranked-choice still has the potential to hurt “Everything Everywhere” with Academy voters, who have less overlap with the Hollywood guilds after a seven-year AMPAS membership drive that has found the organization getting more diverse, far more international and less tied to precedent. (There were solid stats that suggested all five of the last Best Picture winners – “The Shape of Water,” “Green Book,” “Parasite,” “Nomadland” and “CODA” – shouldn’t have won.)

The real wrinkle here is contained in the sentence from two paragraphs ago that said “Everything Everywhere” has beaten almost all of its top rivals. That almost is key – because one film with enormous support throughout the Academy’s branches, the German-language “All Quiet on the Western Front,” wasn’t nominated for SAG, DGA, PGA or WGA awards. (It didn’t qualify for the last of those, at which a few major contenders are almost always ineligible.)

It seems counterintuitive that a movie not even nominated for those top awards could beat a movie that has won them. And yes, it would break all precedents: In the years in which those four top guilds have all been giving out awards, no film has ever won Best Picture without winning at least one of them.

But like “CODA” last year, “All Quiet” was a late-breaking film that many voters didn’t get to until after some of the early guild voting had already happened. It dominated BAFTA’s EE British Academy Film Awards, where “Everything Everywhere” won an editing award and nothing else. And for voters annoyed by the hyperkinetic “Everything Everywhere,” it may have quietly become a significant rival.

Will that be enough to seriously threaten the frontrunner? That’s unlikely, particularly as “Everything Everywhere” gets ready to roll through the last pre-Oscars weekend picking up hardware.

The bottom line: I agree with virtually all of my colleagues in Oscar punditry, and with all available precedents, that “Everything Everywhere All at Once” will win Best Picture, and “All Quiet on the Western Front” will win Best International Feature Film and a couple of other categories.

And I also believe that these days, with this Academy, none of us know as much as we think we do.