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Everything Everywhere All at Once director defends drag in impassioned Oscars speech after Tennessee ban

Director said that drag is a ‘threat to nobody’

Oliver O'Connell,Isobel Lewis
Monday 13 March 2023 09:46 GMT
Daniel Scheinert rebukes anti-drag legislation while accepting Oscar

Everything Everywhere All at Once director Daniel Scheinert rebuked the growing amount of anti-drag legislation appearing across the US during his Oscars acceptance speech.

Last month, a bill banning “adult-oriented” entertainment from public properties was passed by Tennessee’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives in a bid to target drag performances in the state.

In doing so, Tennessee became the first state in the country to effectively ban public drag performances and drag shows for children.

Scheinert and his co-director Daniel Kwan were the big winners at Sunday (12 March) night’s awards show, with Everything Everywhere All at Once taking home seven awards, including for Best Picture.

Find the full list of winners here, and all the live updates from the ceremony as it happened here.

As the pair – known as the Daniels – received the award for Best Director, Scheinert told the crowd: “We want to dedicate this to the mommies. To our moms. Specifically to my mom and dad.”

“Thank you for not squashing my creativity when I was making disturbing horror films or perverted comedy films, or dressing in drag as a kid, which is a threat to nobody,” he added, with emphasis.

There was a huge round of applause and cheers from the audience, with Twitter users quick to voice their approval, calling it the “speech of the night”.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ directors Daniel Kwan (left) and Daniel Scheinert (Getty Images)

However, it was also pointed out that Scheinert was the only person to defend drag performances on stage, at a time when they are being attacked nationwide.

Many in the LGBT+ community had hoped for a more strident stance from Hollywood in defence of both drag and trans issues, also under attack from the American political right in many states. There have been calls for both celebrities and corporations that say they are allies of the community to step up in the face of these attacks.

Last week, famed drag performer RuPaul spoke out on the Tennessee bill following public pressure to fight back on the issue.

In a video shared on social media, RuPaul called the bill a “classic distraction technique”, saying: “Drag queens are the marines of the queer movement. Don’t get it twisted and don’t be distracted.

“Register to vote so we can get these stunt queens out of office and put some smart people with real solutions into government.”

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