By Julian Villegas
On January 24, 2023, the Oscar nominations were announced and it was once again that point in the year where it became a talking point. Whether it be people talking about what should or shouldn’t have been nominated, what should or shouldn’t win, or whether or not people still care about the Oscars, a lot of people talk about this award show.
Many well acclaimed movies were nominated for a plethora of categories and one of the movies that reached both critical and commercial acclaim this past year was Everything, Everywhere, All at Once directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. And unsurprisingly to many, when the Oscars finally rolled around on March 12, this film managed to take home a total of seven awards.
One moment in particular that was a highlight of the night was when lead actress of Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, Michelle Yeoh, won the Best Actress award. This was not just a notable moment of the night, but a historical one as Yeoh is the first ever Asian-American actress to win this award. Many fans were expressing their joy of Yeoh’s success from all her hard work throughout her career as well as what this means for Asian representation in Hollywood and the film industry.
Despite being the first ever Asian-American to win Best Actress, she was not the first to be nominated for this award. Back in 1935, Merle Oberon, who is of South Asian descent, was nominated for this exact award thus making her the first Asian-American to be nominated. However, due to that time period, Oberon hid her South Asian ancestry out of fear of losing her career. So to see Michelle Yeoh, not only be nominated in this award but to also win it was a special moment to see.
On top of Michelle Yeoh’s win, this year’s Oscars became a big year for Asian representation in film, as we also saw several other awards given out towards Asian and Asian-American films. Other awards that Everything, Everywhere, All at Once received includes Ke Huay Quan who, after quitting acting for over 20 years due to lack of roles he was able to get, won the award for Best Supporting Actor. We also saw some South Asian success with “Naatu Naatu” from the movie RRR winning best original song, this being the first time ever an Indian movie has been awarded with an Oscar.
Representation is important, and while not perfect in the slightest, the film industry is making steps to showcase and award representation for minority groups. Times have changed since the 1930s, actors no longer have to hide their own heritage to save their career. Now we can see those same people who got rejection after rejection throughout their life finally be able to find some success. Kids can grow up and see people who look like them succeed in life. And as Michelle Yeoh stated in her acceptance speech at the Oscars: “To all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof, dream big, dreams do come true. And ladies, don’t let anybody ever tell you that you are past your prime. Never give up!”
Madison Sciba '24,