- BBC News World
“And the Oscar goes to…”, there was a short pause and after a few suspenseful seconds her name was heard: “…Michelle Yeoh”.
A moment that will forever go down in Oscar history as it became the First Asian-American woman to win Best Actress.
“To all the boys and girls who look like me (…) This is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams, and you have to dream big, do come true”, an emotional Yeoh told the receive the award.
“And ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re past your prime,” added the 60-year-old actress, to applause from those in attendance at the ceremony in Los Angeles.
friend and mentor
When Michelle Yeoh came to Hong Kong from her native Malaysia to participate in a commercial with Jackie Chan, she never thought that this encounter would lead to a successful career spanning over four decades.
Nor was it easy to imagine at that time that one day he would win an Oscar with a role initially intended for that martial arts expert actor.
Because Yeoh’s lead role in the acclaimed multiverse adventure “Everything everywhere at once” (Everything everywhere at once) it was originally offered to Chan.
“That’s how they wrote it, with Jackie in mind and me as his wife, so the roles are completely reversed,” the actress once said.
Now it’s hard to think of a multiverse without Evelyn, the character Yeoh won his Oscar for.
From “Miss Malaysia” to “Bond Girl”
Yeoh didn’t grow up thinking about being an actress, but about having her own ballet school and teaching what she liked most, which was dancing.
But in Yeoh’s life, plans don’t always obey his wishes. For example, in her youth she participated and won the Miss Malaysia pageant and represented her country at Miss World at the insistence of her mother, who entered her in the pageant without warning.
Although it was as a result of working with Chan that she decided to delve into a world that, as she told the BBC, was dominated by men: martial arts action movies.
“That world fascinated me because it seemed like a great choreography. It really felt like a dance and I threw myself into trying it because I thought I was capable of doing it,” he said.
Yeoh’s fame increased during the 1980s until she established herself as one of Hong Kong’s leading action film actresses, recognized for being able to do the most dangerous scenes herself no need for a double.
In 1997, he got his first big break in Hollywood. It was like “Bond girl” in the movie “Tomorrow never dies” (tomorrow never dies), where she plays a Chinese journalist who meets agent 007 (Pierce Brosnan).
Role that marked a before and after in her life, being recognized by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world, although the impact was not just professional.
From minority to model
Yeoh reflected in the BBC interview that his arrival in Hollywood came as a shock.
“At that time it was a little strange for my system when you leave Asia to come to the United States and suddenly you start to be known as part of a minority. That word was new to me,” she explained.
In 2000 came his first major global box office hit, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (crouching tiger, hidden dragon), for which he received a British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAS) nomination.
Ever linked in one way or another to characters of Asian originYeoh participated in several less successful productions for almost two decades until in 2018 his career received a new boost with the film “Madly Millionaires” (Crazy and Rich Asians).
So he managed to break into the Marvel Universe with his participation in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings” (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) and make history as Evelyn in “Everything Everywhere at the Same Time”.
Last year, Time magazine included among the 100 most influential people in the worldrecognition that not only highlights Yeoh’s acting career, but also her role as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Program.
“I can be a voice and speak for all the people who don’t have that voice so they can be heard,” said Yeah.
“Women leaders are important because for girls who are growing up now, they can see them and say ‘See, this is for me, I can do this’and that is the most important message”, he concluded.
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