Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, has become the first Asian to win the Best Actress Oscar, prompting an outpouring of joy and jubilation from her fellow Malaysians. Yeoh’s family and friends gathered in Kuala Lumpur to watch the ceremony and erupted in cheers when her name was announced. Yeoh’s mother, Janet Yeoh, called her daughter a “very hardworking girl” and an inspiration to all women and Malaysians. Yeoh’s niece, Vicki Yeoh, was equally stunned by the announcement and said it was a “jaw-dropping moment.”
Yeoh won the award for her portrayal of Chinese-American laundromat owner Evelyn Wang in the science-fiction comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once. It was her first Oscar nomination, and she had been widely regarded as the front runner. Yeoh made her Hollywood breakthrough when she was cast as the first ethnic Chinese Bond girl in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies opposite Pierce Brosnan. She has also starred in the 2000 martial arts film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the 2005 period drama Memoirs of a Geisha and the 2018 romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians.
In her acceptance speech, Yeoh called her win a “beacon of hope and possibilities” for “all the boys and girls who look like me.” She dedicated her triumph to her mother and all the mothers in the world and said, “Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up.” Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim praised Yeoh’s success, called her career illustrious and exemplary, and said it would continue to inspire Malaysians.
Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, who was at the viewing party, immediately posted on social media: “Most inspiring quote for all of us aunties – ‘Ladies, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are past your prime.'” On Malaysian social media, Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh was trending. Yeoh was awarded the title of “Tan Sri” by the Malaysian king in 2013, one of the country’s highest honorifics bestowed upon civilians.
Rozaidi Jamil, president of the Malaysian Artists Association, said Yeoh has set a new bar. “Yeoh’s achievements serve as an inspiration and a reminder that talent and hard work can take you far, regardless of your background or where you come from,” he said. Legislators Sim Tze Sin and Wee Ka Siong thanked Yeoh for “breaking glass ceilings” for Asian and Malaysian women and praised her for being an icon for resilience and perseverance.
Twitter users also expressed their congratulations and gratitude to Yeoh for making Malaysia proud. One user said Yeoh’s win was “well deserved,” while another said it meant everything to them as a Malaysian studying in the US. Yeoh’s win is a significant milestone for Asian representation in Hollywood and serves as an inspiration to aspiring actors and actresses around the world.