Michelle Yeoh has made history as she became the first Asian actress to receive the prestigious Academy Award, also known as the Oscars. The renowned Malaysian actress was honored with the Best Actress Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards ceremony for her exceptional portrayal of Evelyn Wang in the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Yeoh’s award-winning performance portrayed a Chinese-American immigrant who owned a laundromat and was tasked with saving the multiverse. This remarkable achievement is a testament to Yeoh’s talent and dedication as an actress, and it marks a significant milestone for representation and diversity in the film industry.
In an emotional acceptance speech, Yeoh dedicated her historic Oscar win to all the young boys and girls who share her heritage and might be inspired by her achievement. “This is a beacon of hope and possibility for all those who look like me and are watching tonight,” she expressed. Yeoh then addressed the women in the audience, saying, “Remember, no one can tell you that you’re past your prime. Always persevere and never give up on your dreams.” Her heartfelt words were a reminder that diversity and representation on screen could inspire and uplift many and that perseverance and determination are key ingredients to success.
Yeoh expressed her gratitude and appreciation for her mother and all the mothers worldwide in her Oscar acceptance speech. She acknowledged them as real superheroes who play an indispensable role in shaping their children’s lives. “This is for my mom and all the mothers out there. Without them, none of us would be here tonight,” she expressed.
Yeoh revealed that her mother is 84 years old and watching the ceremony from Malaysia. She dedicated her Oscar statuette to her and promised to take it back home to her. “I’m bringing this home to you,” Yeoh exclaimed with joy, acknowledging the sacrifices and contributions that her mother had made to support her throughout her career.
As she wrapped up her acceptance speech, Yeoh expressed her heartfelt appreciation to the Academy and acknowledged the significance of her win. “Thank you to the Academy. This is truly history in the making,” she exclaimed with pride and joy. Yeoh’s win not only made her the first Asian actress to receive the Best Actress Oscar but also paved the way for greater diversity and representation in the film industry.
Hailing from Ipoh, Michelle Yeoh started her career in Hong Kong action movies before rising to global fame with blockbuster films such as Supercop, Tomorrow Never Dies, and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The latter received an impressive 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and won four Oscars, including Best Foreign Language Film. Yeoh continued to captivate audiences in recent years with her role in Crazy Rich Asians.
Now at the brink of turning 60, Yeoh finally found a role that enabled her to showcase her full range of acting abilities as the lead actress and one of the executive producers in the mind-bending sci-fi epic, Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed by the Daniels. This achievement marks yet another milestone in Yeoh’s illustrious career, demonstrating her unwavering passion and dedication to her craft.
Yeoh’s Best Actress nomination alone made history, marking her as the first Asian-identifying performer to be nominated in this category. It’s worth noting that Merle Oberon, who was of Sri Lankan and Māori descent but concealed her Asian heritage, had previously been nominated for Best Actress for her role as a white woman in The Dark Angel (1935).
This year’s Oscars marked a groundbreaking moment for Asian actors, with four record-breaking nominations in the acting categories. Yeoh, along with her Everything Everywhere All at Once co-stars Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, and Hong Chau of The Whale, all received nominations. Other Asian nominees at the 95th Oscars included filmmaker Daniel Kwan and producer Jonathan Wang for Everything Everywhere All at Once, writer Kazuo Ishiguro for Living, director Domee Shi for Turning Red, and composers Chandrabose and M.M. Keeravani for RRR, among others. This remarkable level of representation reflects a significant step towards greater inclusivity and diversity in the film industry.