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Local Asian American creatives empowered by Oscar-winning 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'

Nominated 11 times this season, standout film "Everything Everywhere All at Once" scored the Oscar gold in seven categories, including Directing and Best Picture.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — The 95th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday night, and indie hit "Everything Everywhere All at Once" swept the show

The genre-bending, multiverse movie collected seven Oscars, including the coveted recognition of Best Picture. 

The film's plot centers around a Chinese immigrant mother turned superhero, played by Michelle Yeoh. 

She also won for Best Actress, making history as the first ever Asian woman to do so.

“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities," she said emotionally on stage. "Dream big, and dreams do come true."

Ke Huy Quan is the first Asian supporting actor to win in his category in nearly four decades.

 Haing S. Ngor last won as supporting actor for his role in "The Killing Fields" in 1985.

"Mom, I just won an Oscar," Quan tearfully exclaimed. "This is the American dream!"

People of Asian descent played prominent roles both in front and behind the camera for the film.

Sunday night, Co-Director Daniel Kwan became the third person of Asian descent to take home the Oscar trophy for directing. 

"The whole scheme and scope of the entire movie has a lot of different levels of creativity," Filipina film producer Raquel M. Sangalang said, who lives in Chesapeake.

In 2016, she earned an Emmy for her college thesis, a short film called "Terrance."

"Every day is an inspiration for myself, working, knowing other actors, producers, directors in itself is inspiring. So, seeing this awards show is actually a highlight of inspiration," Sangalang said. 

She also touched on the significance of representation and visibility in filmmaking.

"It's another unique storytelling of other people's dreams, ideas or what they want represented. I think, in filmmaking, it's important to tell all kinds of stories. It doesn't have to be one form of genre," Sangalang said.

And she emphasized the importance of spotlighting the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as targeted and racist attacks against the AAPI community have surged since the pandemic.

For the Black community, a Hampton University graduate made history of her own.

Ruth Carter won her second Oscar in the category of Best Costume Design for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." 

She is now the first Black woman to earn two Academy Awards.

In 2019, Carter was the first African American to win in the category of Best Costume Design for her work in the first installment of Black Panther.

Sunday night also made her the first designer to win for both an original film and its sequel. 

“I share this with many dedicated artists whose hands and hearts helped manifest the costumes of Wakanda and Talokan. This is for my mother. She was 101," Carter said. 

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