‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Director Slams Anti-Drag Bills During Oscar Speech

Oscars 2023

Daniel Scheinert called drag “a threat to nobody” while thanking his parents for not squashing his creativity as a kid

Everything Everywhere All At Once co-director Daniel Scheinert took a shot at the anti-drag bills being pushed by conservative lawmakers around the country while accepting the Oscar for Best Director on Sunday night. 

During his speech, Scheinert thanked his parents for “not squashing 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.”

Scheinert’s remark came just over a week after Tennessee became the first state in the country to restrict public drag performances. (Republican Gov. Bill Lee simultaneously signed legislation banning minors from receiving gender-affirming care and prohibiting surgeries and hormone treatments for transgender youth.) Anti-drag bills have been introduced in numerous other states as well, including Oklahoma, Kentucky, North Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia (per NPR).


The director joins a chorus of stars who have also spoken out against the bills, including Nashville’s own Hayley Williams of Paramore, who previously wrote of the Tennessee laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, “Once again our state has passed two regressive and unfathomably harmful bills. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ family and local LGBTQIA+ orgs in this fight, not only for inclusion for our friends and family in the queer community, but for radical acceptance and empowerment for each of them. Drag is not a crime. Gender-affirming healthcare for all, including our youth, is a necessity.” The Bonnaroo music festival, stationed in Manchester, Tennessee, similarly pledged to remain a “safe haven for people of all walks of life” despite the newly-passed laws. “Rest assured The Farm will remain a sanctuary for those freedoms and Bonnaroovians will see no changes in programming or celebration of self-expression at the festival,” organizers wrote.

Scheinert and his co-director Daniel Kwan (known collectively as The Daniels) became the fifth set of director duos to be nominated for Best Director, and just the third to win (the previous two were Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story in 1961 and the Coen Brothers for True Grit in 2010). Along with their Best Director prize, the pair also took home Best Original Screenplay for Everything Everywhere All at Once