“Everything Everywhere All At Once” co-director Daniel Scheinert used his Oscars acceptance speech on Sunday night to take a stand for dressing in drag.
While most of the 95th Annual Academy Awards was politically neutral, there were a few jokes and references made during the ceremony, including Scheinert’s impassioned defense of drag after winning the best director category.
“We want to dedicate this to the mommies, all the mommies in the world, to our moms,” Scheinert began. “Specifically my mom and dad … thank you for not squashing my creativity when I was making really disturbing horror films, or really perverted comedy films, or dressing in drag as a kid, which is a threat to nobody!” he said.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (the Daniels) accept the Best Directing Oscar for ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ #Oscars #Oscars95 pic.twitter.com/dKeWAn8BB6
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 13, 2023
He and Daniel Kwan, collectively known as “the Daniels,” spoke briefly after their win. The directing pair met as students at Emerson College and later worked as assistants at the New York Film Academy summer camp in 2009.
“That’s kind of why Daniels exists now. We were summer camp counselors and we were both so hyper and so enthusiastic about making really weird movies with the kids that we kind of realized we were kindred spirits, so we decided to keep making our own summer movies after hours,” Scheinert told Boston.com.
The indie sci-fi comedy “Everything Everywhere” was the night’s big winner, taking home seven Oscars including the highly coveted Best Picture award.
Though he didn’t say so explicitly, Scheinert’s comments were likely aimed at several states that recently introduced legislation to prohibit sexually charged drag performances where minors are present. Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee is just one of several state legislators to introduce this type of measure, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
The Tennessee bill prohibits “adult cabaret performance … in a location other than an adult cabaret that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to prurient interest, or similar entertainers, regardless of whether or not performed for consideration,” according to a summary.
The Arkansas Senate also worked to pass a bill introduced in January that classified drag performances as “adult oriented businesses” in an effort to protect minors from being exposed to sexually themed events. The bill was revised to specifically target drag performances of a sexual nature but would still allow other drag events for all ages.
Other bills restricting drag performances in front of children have been introduced in at least 14 other states, including Arizona, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and others.