When Michelle Yeoh took to the stage to accept her best actress Oscar on Monday (Mar 13) morning Singapore time, she was making history as the first Asian actress to win the accolade in the 95 years that the Academy Awards has been in existence.
And the significance of the moment was not lost on the Malaysian star.
Onstage, the 60-year-old Yeoh dedicated her win to the “little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight”, adding that her success was “proof that dreams dream big and dreams do come true”.
Talking to the press backstage, she continued with her message of breaking down barriers, calling her win “a historical moment” and thanking the Academy for “acknowledging, embracing diversity and true representation”.
“I think this is something that we have been working so hard towards for a very long time. And tonight, we freaking broke that glass ceiling. I kung fu-ed it out and shattered it.
“And we need this because there are so many who have felt unseen, unheard. It’s not just the Asian community. This is for the Asian community, but (also) for anybody who’s been identified as a minority. We deserve to be heard. We deserve to be seen. We deserve to have the equal opportunity so we can have a seat at the table.”
Yeoh won the award for playing a harried laundromat owner who’s thrust into the multiverse while trying to finish filing her taxes in the sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once.
The film picked up seven statuettes in total, including acting awards for Yeoh’s fellow cast members Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis. Quan won best supporting actor and Curtis won best supporting actress. Everything Everywhere also won best picture, best director, best film editing and best original screenplay.