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Michelle Yeoh dedicates her historic best actress win to mothers everywhere

Harper's Bazaar (UK) logo Harper's Bazaar (UK) 13/03/2023 Quinci LeGardye

Michelle Yeoh has made Oscars history as the first Asian woman to win the Leading Actress prize.

The beloved star delivered an emotional speech upon receiving the golden statuette for her lead performance as Evelyn Wang in the multiversal action flick and immigrant family drama, Everything Everywhere All at Once. Before she spoke, Yeoh shared a sweet, tearful moment with former Leading Actress honouree Halle Berry, who presented her with the trailblazing win.

Yeoh then began her speech by marking the historic moment with a message of hope.

"For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities," she said. "This is proof that dreams … do come true. And ladies, don't let anyone tell you you are ever past your prime."

The Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star went on to thank EEAAO's directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, as well as production studio A24, her fellow cast members, and everyone involved with the film. She also dedicated the award to her own mother and mums around the world, before thanking her extended family.

"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 added. "She's 84, and I'm taking this home to her. She's watching right now in Malaysia with my family and friends ... and also to my extended family in Hong Kong where I started my career. Thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders, giving me a leg up so that I can be here today."

She concluded the speech by thanking the Academy, saying, "This is history in the making."


Everything Everywhere All at Once also took home Best Picture following Yeoh's historic win, as well as the awards for Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis, and Best Director for the duo collectively known as the Daniels.

The Crazy Rich Asians actress has been a prolific action star for more than 40 years, starting her career starring in dozens of Hong Kong martial arts movies in the Eighties and Nineties. She made her US debut in the 1997 Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and went on to star in acclaimed productions including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

She's next set to play Madame Morrible in the upcoming film adaptation of Wicked, starring alongside Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo.


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