Oscars 2023 | Michelle Yeoh makes history! First Asian woman to win Best Actress award at Academy Award 2023
As a nominee, Michelle Yeoh was the first woman in the category to identify as Asian. Merle Oberon, who was nominated for “The Dark Angel” in 1935 but did not win, hid her South Asian heritage, according to birth records.
Academy Awards 2023: Michelle Yeoh won the Academy Award for Best Actress and made history all at once. Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress on Oscar night for her versatile performance in the multiversal Everything Everywhere All at Once. “To all the little boys and girls who look like me tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility,” she said after winning the award for Best Actress. This is proof that you dream big and dreams do come true. Yeoh’s win comes nearly 90 years after Lewis Reiner, a white actor, won in the same category for donning “yellowface” for playing a Chinese villager in The Good Earth.
As a nominee, Michelle Yeoh was the first woman in the category to identify as Asian. Merle Oberon, who was nominated in 1935 for “The Dark Angel” but did not win.
Michelle Yeoh #Oscar for Best Actress: “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof that dreams do come true.” https://t.co/ndiKiHfmID pic.twitter.com/pQN8nHDhCx
— Variety (@Variety) Mar 13, 2023
Yeoh beat out previous Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Tar), as well as Michelle Williams (The Fablemans), Ana de Armas (Blonde) and Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie).
The category also received notice for who wasn’t nominated: In a year of strong performances from black women like Viola Davis (The Woman King) and Danielle Deadweiler (Until), they were left out. Meanwhile some criticized the grassroots campaigning by A-listers on social media for Riseborough.