‘Everything Everywhere’ cast and crew visit Monterey Park

‘Everything Everywhere’ cast and crew visit Monterey Park

The night before garnering 11 Oscar nominations, including best picture, best director and three out of four record nominations for actors of Asian descent, the cast and crew of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” gathered for dinner in Monterey Park.

The celebration of her unlikely trip to the Academy Awards had been planned for weeks. Then Saturday’s mass shooting, which left 11 dead and nine others injured, rocked the predominantly Asian enclave and the AAPI community at large, casting a shadow over the hopeful Lunar New Year holiday.

Shocked and devastated, the “EEAAO” team decided to go ahead with dinner at Atlantic Seafood and Dim Sum on Monday night, aiming to support and encourage a community still reeling from tragedy.

When his group arrived, actor Ke Huy Quan was saddened to find the area and its businesses relatively empty. “We started the night by acknowledging what happened,” said Quan, who earned his first Oscar nomination Tuesday for his supporting role as the radically kindhearted Waymond Wang. “We held a minute’s silence for the victims. We just wanted to show Monterey Park that we love them.”

The film, also nominated for screenplay, score, song, costumes and editing, is the rare Asian-American-focused contender for the awards. Filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are up for best picture (with producer Jonathan Wang), original screenplay and director.

Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh leads the sci-fi action ensemble as Evelyn Wang, a beleaguered Chinese-American laundromat owner who discovers she has the power to span the multiverse and is the only one who can save it from destruction.

“This last weekend was very, very hard,” Yeoh told The Times, calling from London, where he will meet “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. Chu in a big-screen adaptation of “ Wicked”. “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families in Monterey Park. It’s heartbreaking. In the future, we have to help each other to heal.”

It is the first Academy Award nomination for the Malaysian-born actress, who garnered widespread acclaim for her portrayal of a working-class mother and wife who opens up endless possibilities in their alternate lives in “EEAAO.”

The role is notably one of the few notable Hollywood turns written for an Asian woman. If Yeoh wins, she will make history as the first Academy Award winner for best Asian actress. Accepting the Golden Globe this month, Yeoh thanked Kwan and Scheinert, “who had the courage to write about a very ordinary immigrant, an older woman, a mother, a daughter.”

Yeoh, who began her career in Hong Kong, spent time in the San Gabriel Valley while filming recent projects in Los Angeles. After watching the nominations live on Zoom with his “EEAAO” family Tuesday morning, he expressed hope that the film’s message of intergenerational healing offers a “beacon of light.”

“We must hold hands, hug each other and have hope in our hearts that we can step up and make things better,” he said. “Hopefully this is a little beacon of light, that we can collectively hug each other and say, ‘Let’s get each other out of this pain and sadness.’ We have to usher in hope, love and forgiveness.”

Earning her first supporting actress nomination opposite Jamie Lee Curtis for dual roles as Evelyn’s daughter Joy and her all-powerful alter ego Jobu Tupaki, Hsu was born and raised in Torrance. When the news of the Lunar New Year tragedy broke, she was away from her home in Sydney, Australia, feeling “powerless, hopeless and angry”.

Growing up, “we used to go to Monterey Park every other weekend to get groceries,” she said by phone. “I found myself asking myself, what would make me feel better right now? How can I cry, and also, what can get me out of this?

He found solace in rewatching “EEAAO” over the weekend and on the plane back to Los Angeles, where he landed Tuesday morning shortly after the nominations were announced. She “wanted to see the Chinese New Year celebration. I wanted to remember that this movie was about kindness and love,” Hsu said. “I wanted a dose of that.”

Former child star Quan, who rode the comeback of the year with his beloved role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” also has personal ties to Monterey Park that left him heartbroken over the weekend. He and Hong Chau of “The Whale” are the first artists of Vietnamese descent to earn Oscar nominations.

“I lived and grew up there for many, many years,” Quan said of Monterey Park, where 65% of residents identify as Asian, according to US Census data. “It’s a place I called home for a long time. . I know the neighborhood well. I know the people, the community. I know many of the businesses. And I was fighting.”

When the news broke on Sunday, Quan found himself glued to the television. “I don’t even remember how much I’ve cried,” he said. “But then I realized that we can’t cancel. This is not the time to walk away from Monterey Park. Instead we should go there and support them and show them our love. Local businesses need us.”

He urged people to assist the people of Monterey Park and their local businesses, which depend on income during the Lunar New Year holiday holidays.

“It was very sad when we saw that the streets were empty. We went into the restaurant and it was empty,” she said. “I’m so glad I went. We are not ashamed of it. We don’t cancel. We went there, we showed them our love, we supported the business, and I think that’s what people should do. That is what I expect.

For those interested in donating, please visit the victim fund launched by Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California and other organizations.

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