Oscars 2023: Everything Everywhere All at Once director slams anti-drag bills in powerful speech

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert raised their voices in defence of drag when they took to the stage at the 95th Academy Awards to accept their Oscar for best director.

The duo, who are affectionately known as “the Daniels” in the industry, won prizes for both original screenplay and best director at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles for their lauded superhero comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once.

The film, which stars the newly crowned Oscar-winning actress Michelle Yeoh, tells the tale of a Chinese-American laundrette owner navigating a tax audit, family relationships and interdimensional time travel.

Taking to the stage, Scheinert gave a moving tribute to his own parents for not suppressing his creativity. Referencing the rising tide of anti-drag legislation that is currently being pushed by conservative lawmakers across the US, he thanked his parents for permitting “dressing in drag as a kid”, which he fiercely declared is “a threat to nobody”.

Kwan also shared an inspiring message celebrating the beauty of difference. “There is greatness in every single person,” he added. “Thank you so much to everyone who has unlocked my genius.”

Scheinert and Kwan, who have already won a string of best director awards for Everything Everywhere All at Once, including the Directors Guild of America and Critics Choice awards, are a rare set of paired directors to win the elite filmmaking prize of best director.

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Everything Everywhere All at Once dominated this year’s ceremony, sweeping most of the top categories including best picture, best director, best supporting actress and best supporting actor.

Michelle Yeoh, who also took home the award for best actress, became the first Asian star to win best actress in the 95-year history of the Academy Awards.