Michelle Yeoh Makes History, Asian Community: "You're doing it for us"
Michelle Yeoh had to wait 59 years to get her first leading part in a Hollywood movie. And it has taken 95 years for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award the title of best actress to a woman who identifies as Asian.
For her portrayal of Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once, the Malaysian-born actress, who is widely regarded as the front-runner for Best Actress at the upcoming Academy Awards, told TIME last month that she has "thought about" the fact that no Asian woman has ever won Best Actress at the Oscars.
She continued, "And not just me — I feel like my full Asian community has thought about it."
"They come up to me and they say, 'You're doing it for us,'" Yeoh told TIME.
The Academy Awards have faced criticism in the past for favoring mostly white actors in their nominations. But this year, a number of Asian performers have received nominations from the Academy, including Hong Chau for The Whale and Yeoh's co-stars Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu. According to Variety, this is the most Asian actors who have been nominated for acting awards in the Academy's history.
Additionally, she told the journal that she wanted to be recognized "not because I needed it, but because I wanted to feel the love from other people" for her work.
She added, "When you get an opportunity like this, you have to pour your heart and soul into it, because you don't know when the next chance is. I think that is my biggest fear: Please don't let this be the one and only."
Yeoh has won a number of accolades this season, including the Golden Globe for best actress. She was the second Asian actress to get the honor (Awkwafina won the award in 2020 for her role in The Farewell). She also accepted the National Board of Review's Best Actress prize.
Yeoh was nominated for outstanding lead performance at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in addition to winning best actress prizes from the Saturn Awards and Hollywood Critics Association for her work in the film. She is also nominated on March 4 for the Film Independent Spirit Awards for best lead performance.
Source: People.com, TIME, HollywoodReporter.com