Michelle Yeoh Just Made History At The Oscars: Here Are 5 Of Her Must-See Films

The Malaysian actress just became the first Asian to be nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

Michelle Yeoh has been trailblazing in the film industry for decades. Born in Malaysia, Yeoh’s first foray into the spotlight began when she was 20 and was crowned Miss Malaysia World. She then went to the big screen, becoming the face of Hong Kong-produced martial arts and action movies in the 1990s. She was known for doing most of her own stunts.

In 2018 Yeoh was cast in Crazy Rich Asians, which broke boundaries within Tinseltown. It proved that within major audiences in the West, there was indeed an appetite for better Asian representation.

Yeoh recently added a lot more feathers to her cap with the sleeper hit Everything, Everywhere, All At Once. The ambitious film, which was directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Known as the Daniels), was the first A24 title to hit $100 million at the global box office, despite having a mere $25 million budget.

The film follows Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, an unhappy laundromat owner, alongside Ke Huy Quan as her husband, and Stephanie Hsu as her daughter Joy. The story combines the concepts of parallel universes with both the plight of immigrants in America and the struggles between mother and daughter.

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once proved to be a worldwide phenomenon, reiterating yet again how much people want to see these stories on the big screen, and how successful and impactful they can be. Yeoh has since won a Golden Globe, making her the first Malaysian to win the award, and was named Time’s 2022 Icon of The Year.

To cap off her monumental year, the actress has just been nominated for Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards. Though it was notable enough that the low-budget title garnered a total of 11 nominations, Yeoh’s marks the very first time in Oscars history that an Asian woman has been up for the award.

In an interview, Yeoh declared that “this is more than me.” She recalls how Asian fans walk up to her on the street and tell her “you’re doing it for us.”

In honor of Yeoh’s monumental nominations, here are five of the actress’s must-see movies.

It’s odd to think that an institution held at such international prestige could be so far behind, but Yeoh’s moment is epochal in that the industry can no longer deny the need for representation and diversity. In an interview, Yeoh declared that “this is more than me.” She recalls how Asian fans walk up to her on the street and tell her “you’re doing it for us.”

In honor of Yeoh’s monumental nominations, here are five of the actress’s must-see movies.

Yes, Madam!

The 1985 filmYes, Madam! stars Yeoh alongside another recognizable name in the martial arts genre, Cynthia Rothrock. The two of them play inspectors on the hunt for thieves who have stolen something more valuable than they know. This film was one of the Hong Kong pictures that kickstarted the “girls with guns” subgenre, by depicting strong female leads.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Ang Lee’s film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon saw Yeoh as Shu Lien, alongside Zhang Ziyi as Jen Yu. The movie is considered Yeoh’s breakthrough role, with one of her scenes touted as the best fight sequence in cinema history.

The Lady

More than a decade after Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Yeoh takes on the leading role in Luc Besson’s film The Lady as Aung San Suu Kyi; a role that allowed the actress to fully hone her range. Yeoh plays the real-life political leader and Nobel laureate in a narrative that follows her journey into Burmese politics, alongside her relationship with her husband Michael Aris.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians has without a doubt proven to be one of the most impactful films of the past few years; an odd statement to expect out of a simple Cinderella-story romcom. The 2018 film has been credited for “saving romcoms” after a long streak of unsuccessful pictures and has been heralded as the film that changed Hollywood for the better, as the first Hollywood title to boast an all-Asian cast. In fact, Yeoh’s Everything, Everywhere, All At Once co-star Ke Huy Quan cites the movie as the reason he decided to give acting a second chance after 30 years.

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

The 2022 Daniels-directed Everything, Everywhere, All At Once has proven to be the film of 2022. The story, in essence, is about an immigrant Asian family struggling to find their purpose in the universe, all while having to battle omnipotent beings and parallel universes. Empire called the movie “a radical film about radical love and radical acceptance,” while Roger Ebert praised Yeoh for her “virtuoso performance.”

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