Michelle Yeoh Is Officially the First Asian Best Actress Oscar Winner

Her acceptance speech, which thanked moms everywhere, should get an award, too.

May we introduce to you Michelle Yeoh, Academy Award-winning Best Actress. At the 95th Academy Awards tonight, Yeoh took home the award for Best Actress for her role as Evelyn Wang in The Daniels's (Kwan and Scheinert) science-fiction, martial arts, multiverse-spanning epic Everything Everywhere All at Once. After blazing a trail all awards season, racking up history-making wins again and again (the movie has earned over 200 honors and awards), everything culminated in Yeoh's win at tonight's Oscars ceremony — her co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan, as well as directors the Daniels, also took home awards tonight.

Michelle Yeoh 2023 Oscars Win

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During her speech, Yeoh dedicated her award to "little boys and girls" who look like her.

"Thank you, thank you for all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of home and possibilities. This is proof that dreams ... dream big and dreams do come true. Ladies, don't let anybody tell you that you are ever past your prime. Never give up," she said. "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." She finished, saying that she was bringing the award home to her family in Malaysia and her extended family in Hong Kong: "To my godchildren, to my sisters, all of them to my brothers, to my family, thank you. Thank you to the Academy, this is history in the making. Thank you."

michelle yeoh oscars 2023

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When the 2023 Academy Award nominations were announced earlier this year, The Washington Post noted that calling Yeoh the first Asian actress nominated for the prize was inaccurate, citing Merle Oberon, a South Asian actress who was up for the trophy for The Dark Angel back in 1936. At the time, Oberon hid her ethnicity and because she was biracial (she had a mother of mixed South Asian descent and a White British father), she passed as white. Oberon also played Cathy in 1939's adaptation of Wuthering Heights. It wasn't until 1983 that Oberon's true history was revealed in the book Princess Merle: The Romantic Life of Merle Oberon.

So, while Yeoh basks in her latest win (coming after the high of taking home the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture), she can also lay claim to being a history maker. 87 years after Oberon's nomination, Yeoh can proudly say that she's the first openly Asian actress to take home the gold.

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