Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh Thrilled Her Characters Are Not Described as ‘Asian-Looking Person’ After Oscar Win

Michelle Yeoh’s Oscar win for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was one of the most historic moments on the Oscar stage in recent times. The award validated her decades-long career as one of Hollywood’s most underrated action stars and gave her the notable honor of being the first Asian woman to win Best Actress in a Leading Role. Yeoh has never downplayed the significance of her nomination during her Oscar campaign—and now she’s ready to talk about the benefits she’s enjoying.

Talking with Variety at a Cannes event, Yeoh spoke about the positive knock-on effects his Oscar win had for the Asian American community in Hollywood.

“The most important thing he has done is have generated such pride with our people,” Yeoh said. “The day I won I honestly heard the roar of joy that came from that corner of the world. He moved slowly like that and that opened the door wide and it’s not closing behind me… When there are so few roles in the past it’s so competitive. If you get the job, I won’t get the job. But now we have to change our mentality. If I’m successful, you can be successful.

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Yeoh got even more specific and revealed that one of the best parts of her recent success is the fact that she is being offered characters who are nuanced enough to be defined by more than their Asian heritage.

“The best thing that’s happened is I get a script that doesn’t describe the character as a Chinese or Asian looking person,” he said. “We are actors. We are supposed to act. We are supposed to step into the roles that are given to us and do our job as best we can. That, to me, is the biggest step forward.”

She attributes the unlikely success of “Everything Everywhere All at Once” to the independent film community’s willingness to think outside the box and a refusal to be pigeonholed by traditional Hollywood standards.

“It’s just about going further and refusing to say that this is the ‘normal way.’ In the “normal way”, would “Everything Everywhere All At Once” have been nominated? Chances are no, five to 10 years ago.

While Yeoh is excited to discuss the work she’s done on “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” she gave a definite “no” when asked about those sequel rumors.

“There is no sequel,” he said. “We’d just do the same thing.”