Michelle Yeoh wins best actress award & makes history at the Oscars

Tuesday 14 March 2023

The Malaysian-born actor became the first Asian woman to win the Academy Award for best actress this afternoon for her multifaceted performance in the multiversal Everything Everywhere All at Once.

“Thank you for all the little boys and girls who look like me tonight,” she said. “This is proof that dreams do come true. And ladies, don't let anyone ever tell you you're past your prime.”

Yeoh's victory comes almost 90 years after Luise Rainer, a white actor, won the same category for donning yellowface to play a Chinese villager in The Good Earth.

As a nominee, Yeoh was the first in the category who identified as Asian. Merle Oberon, who was nominated in 1935 for The Dark Angel but didn't win, hid her South Asian heritage, according to birth records.

Yeoh beat out past Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, as well as Michelle Williams, Ana de Armas and Andrea Riseborough.

The category also received notice for who wasn't nominated: In a year of strong performances from Black women like Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler, they were shut out. Meanwhile, some criticised the grassroots campaigning by A-listers on social media for Riseborough

Yeoh appeared a lock after winning seemingly every award everywhere, including the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, for her nuanced portrayal of Evelyn, an immigrant Chinese wife, mother and laundromat operator bracing for a tax audit.