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Michelle Yeoh Is the First Asian Woman to Win the Best Actress Oscar

Photo: Getty

Michelle Yeoh won a much-deserved Oscar for her performance(s) as so many versions of an ambitious woman in Everything Everywhere All At Once. She is the first Asian woman to take home this prize, a huge win for inclusion and representation. Her fellow nominees included Andrea Riseborough, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, and Ana de Armas.

“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching at home, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” Yeoh began her emotional acceptance speech. “This is proof that dreams do come true.” She added, “And ladies, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are past your prime.”

Photo: Getty

Yeoh, 60, continued by referencing the heart of Everything Everywhere All At Once. Taking a deep breath, Yeoh 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’s 84 and I’m taking this home to her.”

The internet, predictably, went bananas over Yeoh’s history-making win. “It took 21 years for the second woman of color to win Best Actress, and 95 years for the first Asian woman to do so. Michelle Yeoh just made history,” reads one tweet. “Michelle Yeoh’s reaction to winning a Best Actress, and her entire cast crowding around her…I’m emotional,” reads another. Yet another person tweeted, “Michelle Yeoh won an Academy Award, but really, the Academy Awards won a Michelle Yeoh.”

Somewhat depressingly, Yeoh was only the second Asian woman nominated in the category. The first, Merle Oberon, got a nod in 1935, and was of mixed heritage. However, starting in her teens, Oberon “passed” as white, and lied about her birthplace and bleached her skin to maintain that image through her career and until the end of her life.And since Academy voters didn’t know about Oberon’s ancestry, Yeoh’s nomination is the first time an openly Asian woman received the honor.

Congratulations, Michelle!

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