Michelle Yeoh Wins Best Actress Oscar, First Asian in Academy History

Michelle Yeoh made Oscars history on Sunday night.

During the 2023 Academy Awards, the Malaysian-born actress took home the award for Best Actress for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” becoming the first actress of Asian descent to win an Oscar in the Best Actress category.

Yeoh — who was presented the award by Jessica Chastain and Halle Berry — was visibly emotional as she took the stage to accept her Oscar.

“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” she said. “This is proof that dream big and dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up.”

She went to thank A24, her cast and crew, and her family, including her mom, to whom she dedicated her Oscar.

“I have to dedicate this to my mom — all the moms in the world — because they are really the superheroes, and without them, none of us would be here tonight,” Yeoh said. “She’s 84, and I’m taking this home to her. She’s watching right now in Malaysia … with my family and friends. I love you guys, I’m bringing this home to you, and also 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 could be here today.”

“Thank you to the Academy, this is history in the making,” she concluded. “Thank you!”

Yeoh won the award over fellow female nominees Cate Blanchett (“Tar”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”) and Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”).

The “Crazy Rich Asians” star made Academy Awards history even before her Oscars win on Sunday. With her nomination alone, Yeoh became the second Asian woman to receive a nod for the Best Actress Oscar. It was also the first time she was recognized by the Academy in her long-running career in Hollywood.

This year, there were four actors of Asian descent — including Yeoh — nominated in the acting categories for the Oscars, which is the highest number of Asian acting nominees recognized by the Academy in a single year, per Variety. Other nominees included Hong Chau for “The Whale” and Yeoh’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once” co-stars Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan, who also won on Sunday night, taking home the award for Best Supporting Actor.

Yeoh has dominated the 2023 awards season, receiving many accolades for her role in “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” In addition to the Oscar, she also won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.

Among her other slew of nominations and wins were nods at the 2023 BAFTAs and Critics Choice Awards.

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