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Michelle Yeoh Is The First Asian To Win NBR’s Best Actress Award In 45 Years

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Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress, won Best Actress at the National Board of Review Awards on Sunday, becoming the first Asian to do so.

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures is a non-profit organisation comprised of film enthusiasts from the New York City area. Its awards, which are held in Manhattan, are regarded as a forerunner of the film award season, which begins with the Golden Globes on Tuesday and concludes with the Oscars in March. The Screen Actors Guild nominations are due on Wednesday, and Oscar voting begins on Thursday.

“I hope that Hollywood and the filmmaking community recognise what a watershed film this is, as well as all that I’ve stood for and attempted to achieve in my four-decade career.”

– Michelle Yeoh

Yeoh, 60, won for her portrayal of a stressed-out Chinese-American laundromat owner battling to save the multiverse in the sleeper hit Everything Everywhere All At Once.

In her acceptance speech, the veteran, who began her career in Hong Kong action films in the 1990s, discussed her attempts to break into Hollywood. “Hi, my name is Yeoh Choo Kheng. I was told I had to choose a Western name.

“As a result, Yeoh Choo Kheng became Michelle Yeoh. We were told that it would help us sell our films and tell our stories to the rest of the world.”

“Then one day, Hollywood came calling, an absolute dream come true,” she continued. We all wanted to go to Hollywood until I showed up. I was suddenly in the minority. What caused this to happen? There are more of me than there are of you.

Michelle Yeoh in her acceptance speech at National Board of Review (Image by: Reuters)

“I was stereotyped. On the screen, I didn’t see any faces like mine. I met people who had no idea where Korea, China, or Japan were.”

“I am so honoured to be the first Asian actress to receive this honour in 45 years,” she said to a nearly one-minute standing ovation. “I hope that Hollywood and the filmmaking community recognise what a watershed film this is, as well as all that I’ve stood for and attempted to achieve in my four-decade career.”

“This award proves we can tell our own stories on our own terms and embrace something as simple and as important as our given names,” said Time magazine’s Icon of the Year 2022.

Yeoh has recently won several awards, including the International Star Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Info source : The Straits Times

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