Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, known simply as the Daniels, were the biggest winners of the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday.

The duo’s film Everything Everywhere All at Once received seven awards, including Best Picture. Two others went solely to Kwan and Scheinert: Best Original Screenplay and Best Director.

Everything Everywhere All at Once is only the Daniels’ second full-length feature film, and their ascent may only be starting after the pair signed an exclusive five-year deal with Universal in August 2022. Here’s what you need to know about them and their path to Oscar royalty.

Who Is Daniel Kwan?

Daniel Kwan was born on February 10, 1988, and grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts. In a 2017 interview with Giant Robot Media, Kwan talked about how his father sparked his interest in movies. “I had a really weird, eclectic group of films that were always playing in my house,” he said. “When I was 4 or 5 years old, my favorite movies were Terminator 2 and Groundhog Day, the kind of movies that you probably wouldn’t understand when you were 4 years old.”

Following Everything Everywhere All at Once’s string of wins on Sunday night, the 35-year-old said his mother, June, helped “protect” his creativity. When he was a young child, she homeschooled him for a couple years because she worried his writing ability wasn’t progressing.

Kwan tried different hobbies, including music, karate, and Boy Scouts, but either didn’t enjoy or made little progress in them. In his free time, he and his friends made radio plays using a cassette player with a recordable tape. That’s when he discovered his love of storytelling.

But even through high school, Kwan said, he lacked confidence in his filmmaking ability and never took the lead on any projects with his friends. “I was pretty positive if I ever tried something like that, I would never be good enough to make money,” he said.

Who Is Daniel Scheinert?

Daniel Scheinert was born June 7, 1987, in Birmingham, Alabama. According to, he attended Oak Mountain elementary and middle schools and Shades Valley High School.

His parents, Ken and Becky Scheinert, supported Scheinert’s creative endeavors as a child. That included encouraging Scheinert and his older brother, Brett, to participate in Odyssey of the Mind and Destination Imagination competitions.

Scheinert’s love of film partially came from his brother, who made films and two episodes of a public access television show for fun. The 35-year-old interned at the Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, for three of his high school years and also made films for the event with his friends.

How Did the Daniels Meet?

daniel kwan and daniel scheinert speaking to an audience
The Daniels speak at the 2022 Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles.
Getty Images

Scheinert and Kwan met as students at Boston’s Emerson College in 2008.

According to Vulture, Kwan transferred from the University of Connecticut after studying accounting for one year, which made him miserable, and devoted himself to filmmaking instead. However, he was unsure what type of movies he wanted to make.

Scheinert, on the other hand, had a background in musical theater and improv comedy and was confident in his artistic style. “I want to make dramas that make you laugh and comedies that make you cry,” he told his classmates at an introductory 3D animation course.

The two began making videos together in 2009, when they were counselors at a New York Film Academy summer camp in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kwan, who wanted to test out his new Canon 5D Mark II camera, and Scheinert made a 55-second short film called Swingers, in which a playground swing set mishap causes them to swap facial features. The video became a Vimeo staff pick and has picked up more than 109,000 views. Their next short, Tides of the Heart, also became an online hit.

The two continued to produce short films through 2016, including 2014’s Interesting Ball, which was a selection for the SXSW and Los Angeles film festivals.

What Else Have the Daniels Done?

Before garnering their acclaim as feature directors, the Daniels directed music videos, including Foster the People’s “Houdini,” and others for Tenacious D, The Shins, and FM Belfast.

The pair’s first smash hit was the video for DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s 2013 dance hit “Turn Down for What.” The video, which stars Kwan provocatively dancing his way through multiple floors of an apartment complex, has garnered over 1.1 billion views on YouTube and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Music Video.

According to their web site, the duo has also helmed commercials for Apple, Nike, Converse, and Levi’s.

The Daniels’ first full-length feature film was 2016’s Swiss Army Man, an A24 production starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Dano plays a man on a deserted island who befriends a corpse, Radcliffe, and the two begin a journey to return home. The film grossed just under $5 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and is currently available to stream on HBO Max.

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Tyler Piccotti
Associate News Editor,

Tyler Piccotti joined the staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.