The star of Everything everywhere at once, Michelle Yeoh, is incredibly proud of her historic Oscar nomination for Best Actress. As an actress in the comedy drama, she played Evelyn Wang, a Chinese immigrant and laundromat owner who discovers the existence of the multiverse and needs to face several multiverse threats by becoming one with her alternate self and learning to embrace their skills and experiences. In the process, she manages to save the remaining universes and become a true hero across all of reality, despite having no real experience with the multiverse beforehand.
Now that the full list of 2023 Oscar nominees has been released, Yeoh is officially the first Asian nominee for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. She takes the opportunity to talk about the exclusion of Asians from the ceremony and the difference it makes in local communities when Hollywood recognizes them. In an interview with The Hollywood ReporterYeoh made it clear that she sees this as a serious milestone for Asians as she receives the validation and recognition she deserves for her performance in Everything everywhere at once. See her quote below:
“It’s taken a long time. But I think it’s more than me. At this point, constantly, all the time, Asians go up to me and say, ‘You can do it, you do it for us.’ It’s like, “I understand. I totally understand.” All this time they haven’t been recognized, they haven’t been heard…I’ve been in the movie business now for 40 years. When you have validation from your peers, all of that is the icing on the cake But the reason that you’re making movies and presenting your babies to the world is because you want the story to be told, you want people to understand, whether it’s your culture, whether it’s certain very poignant stories or important stories, to be told. I think it’s more than just me. It represents so many who have hoped to be seen this way, to get a seat at the table, to say, ‘I’m of value too, I need to be seen too.’ “
Michelle Yeoh’s legacy in Hollywood, explained
Yeoh’s legacy in Hollywood will be a game-changer. She has earned the love of the industry with Jaime Lee Curtis personally endorsing her awards campaign and other major Hollywood stars speaking out to praise the actress’ achievements. After participating Everywhere at once, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Tomorrow never diesand Crazy rich AsiansMaking a name for herself, Yeoh has proven that she has the stamina to keep the name relevant for decades, having made her acting debut in 1984 with The owl vs. Bumbo.
What Michelle Yeoh’s nomination means for Asian representation
Asian actors in Hollywood rarely get the representation or praise they deserve. Still, Hollywood is working to diversify its movies with recent hits Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Everything everywhere at once, previously underserved communities finally get to see themselves on screen in unique roles that allow members of their communities to be seen as heroes instead of being typecast into specific stereotypes. Yeoh has even become the first Asian artist to receive an honorary AFI degree, meaning that even the American Film Institute recognizes her contribution to the medium.
Yeoh’s success may well mean that other Asian actors will have more opportunities in the future. She also serves as a beacon to young Asian people that they can succeed in film if they set their minds to it and that there is no reason to shy away from the challenge. Having won two BAFTAs, a Golden Globe, and having received a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Oscars, Yeoh proves that any barrier can be overcome. Just like Everything everywhere at once directors had the perfect reaction to the Oscar nominations for the project, Yeoh’s recognition of the wider impact of her nomination should not be underestimated.
More: Everything everywhere at once easter eggs and referencesSource: THR