Asian Stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan Reign at Oscars 2023
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan are everywhere as they snag historic wins at Hollywood’s finest annual filmmaking awards
As the best and brightest waltz their way to the champagne carpet of the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles, California earlier today (PST), the exhilaration skyrocketed as audiences stood by for the announcement of this year’s titleholders. The proclamation was nearing and people couldn’t wait but calculate the possibilities of who would blast the prize.
Today was a great day for Asian dreamers as lauded talents Michelle Yeoh and Kevin Huy Quan smashed records as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle is the first actress of Southeast Asian descent to be declared Best Actress in the entire Oscars history, earning the spot of being the second woman of color to win the top title since Hattie McDaniel’s 1940 stint.
It was a nail-biter of a night as spectators waited for the Best Actress in a Lead Role proclamation, whereas Michelle, in her seat, patiently smiled. The gods seemed to have prepared her for a change that will cause her career to shift forever.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight: This is the beacon of hope and possibilities,” she set off, standing loud and proud. “This is proof that dreams dream big and dreams do come true.” At 60, Michelle’s light is beaming bright, inspiring others to imbibe the same perspective that she has soaked up along the way. “Ladies,” she advocated, “don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up!”
“I wouldn’t be standing here tonight without the Daniels, without A24, without my amazing cast and crew, without everyone who was involved with Everything, Everywhere All At Once,” she went on, paying tribute to her people. “I have to dedicate this to my mom—all the moms in the world—because they are really the superheroes and without them, none of us will be here tonight. She’s 84, and I’m taking this home to her. She’s watching right now in Malaysia.”
Malaysian-born, Michelle made it to the cinema circuit in the 1980s after her pursuits in pageantry. She also acted alongside action and martial arts movie star Jackie Chan in a 1984 commercial. Since then, she has been taking on action films in Hong Kong, where her acting career blossomed. “I love you, guys!” she continued, referencing her life’s regulars—her family and friends.
Closing her statement, she concluded: “I’m bringing this home to you. And also, to my extended family in Hong Kong where I started my career: Thank you for letting me stand on your shoulders, giving me a leg up so that I can be here today. And to my godchildren, to my sisters—all of them—to my brothers, to my family: Thank you, thank you! Thank you to the Academy. This is history in the making. Thank you!”
Michelle’s fellow legend and EEAAO actor, Ke Huy Quan, 51, landed the Best Supporting Actor title and becomes a totem of Asian representation as his ascent to Tinseltown marks a true success. The Vietnamese-born actor is the second performer from the Asian region to receive this award in the principal category since Cambodian winner Haing Ngor’s triumph in 1985. Ke Huy Quan’s world stopped in a heartbeat as he was hailed superstar with the Best Actor in a Supporting Role award.
It was a cryfest for viewers and his co-actors alike as Ke Huy Quan capped off his comeback with a tearjerker speech on stage. “Oh my God! Thank you, thank you!” he teared up, barely holding back. “My mom is 84 years old and she’s at home watching. Mom, I just won an Oscar!” the actor said upon acceptance, sparking a standing ovation that is an official first for the evening’s festivities.
Ke Huy Quan harked back to his humble beginnings, walking us through his turbulent times way back. “My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp and somehow, I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage,” he began. “They say, stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This—this is the American dream!” His successive shoutouts to several influences in his life were included in his address, too.
“Thank you so much to the Academy for this honor of a lifetime. Thank you to my mom for the sacrifices you made to get me here. To my little brother, David, who calls me every day just to remind me to take good care of myself: I love you brother.” Taking his time for special thanks, he added: “Thank you to Ken for all your support and everything you’ve done. Thank you to A24, the Daniels, Jonathan, Jamie, Michelle, and my Goonies brother for life—Jeff Cohen.”
Of course, as a cherry topper to his series of thank-yous, Ke Huy Quan wrapped up his speech showing his wife appreciation. “I owe everything to the love of my life, my wife Echo, who month after month, year after year—for 20 years—told me that one day, my time will come.” He turned to the audience then. “Dreams are something you have to believe in. I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive!”
Lead photos courtesy of ABC and Kevin Winter