SAG Awards nominee profile: Stephanie Hsu (‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’) can add a film prize to go with her TV win

Stephanie Hsu finds herself at the center of one of the hottest movies of the year in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The multiverse adventure is tied with “The Banshees of Inisherin” for most nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, with an impressive five bids. This brings Hsu back to to these awards for the first time since her TV comedy ensemble win for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” in 2020. This time, she has made the jump to film Ensemble and most importantly secured her first ever individual SAG nomination. Her juicy dual role in the year’s most audacious film could tip the scales in her favor.

Audiences first encounter Hsu as Joy, daughter to protagonist Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh). Joy desperately wants her traditional mother to accept her girlfriend as part of the family, but Evelyn doesn’t approve. The strained mother-daughter relationship causes Joy to drift and grow depressed. When Evelyn learns how to jump into alternate universes, we see Hsu in a new form: Jobu Tupaki. This alternate version of Joy has explored the vast expanses of the multiverse and concluded that “nothing matters.” So she is on a quest to hunt down Evelyn and obliterate every single universe. Evelyn must mend the relationship with her daughter before the chaotic Jobu sucks the entire multiverse into a world-ending everything bagel.

In the supporting actress race, Hsu is joined by first-time nominee Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), who is likewise nominated in ensemble, as well as past SAG winner Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), and past nominees Hong Chau (“The Whale”) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Hsu’s “Everything Everywhere” co-star). This entire quintet repeated their nominations at the Oscars.

WATCH Stephanie Hsu interview: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

Awards watchers may be skeptical of Hsu’s chances due to the fact that the actress faces internal competition from her co-star Curtis. Curtis only has one prior nomination, for 1994’s “True Lies,” but she is Hollywood royalty and will surely attract a decent number of votes.

The success rate of supporting actresses who face off against a co-star at SAG is hit and miss. Hsu and Curtis mark the 12th time in SAG Awards history in which two women from one movie have competed against each other in the category. Previous matchups have resulted in eight losses, while one member of a nominated pair has won the trophy three times. Most recently we’ve seen losses from “The Favourite” (2018) stars Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and “Bombshell” (2019) actors Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie, respectively. But competition from a co-star didn’t matter when Octavia Spencer prevailed over fellow “The Help” (2011) actress Jessica Chastain, or when Melissa Leo triumphed over Amy Adams for “The Fighter” (2010). The only other win for a nominated pair was 20 years ago when Catherine Zeta-Jones won over “Chicago” co-star Queen Latifah. It should be noted that in all three of these cases, the movie’s cast was also nominated for ensemble, and the casts of “Chicago” and “The Help” won the award. This could be a major boon to Hsu’s chances since “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is the presumed frontrunner for ensemble.

The actors who vote for the SAG Awards will also surely be impressed by the level of difficulty involved in Hsu’s performance. She is tasked with playing the dual roles of Joy and her nihilistic alter ego Jobu. The actress pulls off a tricky tightrope walk, as these two women must be recognizable as two sides of the same coin yet distinctly their own characters. Hsu is able to truly let loose with wild antics and fight scenes as Jobu, but balances those moments with more introspective, tender scenes as Joy. The emotional parking lot scene, in which Joy reconciles with her mother, is particularly moving and has received plenty of praise on social media. This one performance contains both a passionate ingenue and a sneering villain, two tropes that voters love to reward.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2023 contenders in film and TV.

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