Malaysian Chinese actress Michelle Yeoh won the Best Lead Actress Oscar at the 95th Academy Awards, making her the first Asian woman to win the golden statuette in the history of the awards show. Yeoh’s win at the ceremony was for her role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All At Once, which won a total of seven awards at the 2023 edition of the awards.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams dream big and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past your prime,” said Yeoh after accepting the award from Halle Berry, who was the first BIPOC to win the Best Actress Oscar for her role in the 2001 film Monster’s Ball.
“To my extended family in Hong Kong where I started my career – thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders, giving me a leg up so that I can be here today,” added Yeoh, who rose to fame in the 1990s with Hong Kong action movies like Police Story 3: Super Cop, The Heroic Trio, and Tai Chi Master. She also starred in the 2000 hit Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as well as in Hollywood films like Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Crazy Rich Asians.
Everything Everywhere All At Once also won awards in two other major acting categories: Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan) and Best Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis). The film also won the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Screenplay Oscars.
While Everything Everywhere All At Once’s wins made history for its representation of Asians and the Asian-American community, this year’s Academy Awards were also big for India. The film RRR won Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu, and The Elephant Whisperers took home the Best Documentary Short Subject award.