During an already historic Oscars telecast, Michelle Yeoh’s Best Actress win for the multiverse film Everything Everywhere All At Once was simply the icing on the cake — or the seasoning on the everything bagel, for fans of the sci-fi mindbender.
Clocking in at more than three hours, Sunday’s ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles closed out on a high note: Yeoh, 60, became the first Southeast Asian woman to win the Best Actress category. This was her first nomination and win.
“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, dream big, and dreams do come true. And ladies don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime,” an elated Yeoh said in her acceptance speech, according to People. “Never give up.”
In her nearly 40-year film career, the Malaysian actress first starred in a commercial with Jackie Chan before moving on to feature films — where she performed most of her own stunts despite having no formal martial arts training. Already a household name in Hong Kong, Yeoh made her Hollywood debut in the 18th installment of the James Bond franchise, Tomorrow Never Dies. She later made waves in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Crazy Rich Asians.
During her Oscars acceptance speech she noted the fortitude of women and, in particular, moms: “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.”
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Yeoh, looking ethereal in a white Dior haute couture gown with layers of tulle, gave a special shout-out to her own mom, in particular. “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, and 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 I can be here today.”
Yeoh’s monumental victory came on the heels of two of her co-stars joyous wins: Ke Huy Quan, who played her beleaguered husband in the film, won Best Supporting Actor (the first actor of Asian descent to win in the category), while Hollywood royalty Jamie Lee Curtis won Best Supporting Actress for her first-ever nom.
Yeoh’s fellow nominees in the Best Actress category were Cate Blanchett (Tár), Ana de Armas (Blonde), Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie) and Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans).
Everything Everywhere All At Once took home seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and three of the four acting categories.