The Ipoh-born actress is only the second Asian actor to win in the category, with the first being Awkwafina back in 2019. She beat out other big names in the industry such as Emma Thompson for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”, Anya Taylor-Joy for “The Menu,” Margot Robbie for “Babylon,” and Lesley Manville for “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.”
It was also her first-ever Golden Globe nomination and she is considered a strong Oscar contender in the industry. She has garnered dozens of award nominations for acting as the unlikely heroine of a Chinese immigrant laundromat owner, Evelyn Wang, who is transported into baffling parallel worlds.
Although she has long been considered a heavyweight in Asian films, she only truly achieved mainstream recognition in Hollywood in recent years beginning with her role in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’.
She was noticeably emotional during her acceptance speech, saying, “I’m just going to stand here and take this all in. Forty years, not letting go of this.”
Yeoh said, “It’s been an amazing journey and an incredible fight to be here today, but I think it’s been worth it.”
She continued, “I remember when I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream come true until I got here… because I came here and was told, ‘You’re a minority.'”
She continued to share her concerns about how the opportunity to act in the movie came at an age where opportunities usually grow less for women her age. After the exit music came on, she hilariously remarked, “Shut up, please,” as she laughed and looked in the pianist’s direction, “I can beat you up. And that’s serious.”
She has cemented her status in showbiz and has been a trailblazer not only for Malaysian but also Asian representation lately by being chosen as TIME magazine’s Icon of the Year, being the first Asian actress to win at the National Board of Review Awards, and was also awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the American Film Institute (AFI).
Image credit: @ravieb, @goldenglobes, @michelleyeoh_official