Nobody is going to play off Michelle Yeoh. The actor, who won her first Golden Globe on Tuesday, jokingly told the awards show’s producers to “shut up” after trying to cut her acceptance speech short.
“I can beat you up,” said Yeoh as the orchestra started to perform midway through her remarks. “And that’s serious.”
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Yeoh was honored in the best actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy category, for playing many iterations of laundromat owner Evelyn Wang in A24’s zany multiverse adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The recognition wasn’t lost on Yeoh, whose decades-long career in Hollywood began with 1997’s James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” and Ang Lee’s 2000 Oscar-winning martial arts drama “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
“I’m just going to stand here and take this all in,” she said, clutching the gold statue. “40 years… I’m not letting go of this.”
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She continued, “When I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream come true — until I got here. I came here and was told, ‘You’re a minority.'”
Already a celebrated actor in Hong Kong, Yeoh’s Hollywood career flourished as she worked with acclaimed directors including Steven Spielberg, Rob Marshall and James Cameron. But the 60-year-old found that opportunities for meaningful roles began to shrink as she got older.
“I thought, ‘Hey, come on, girl. You had a really, really good run,'” she said.
And then — in a true Hollywood ending — came “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a movie she calls “a gift.”
“Thank you A24 for believing in these two goofy, insanely smart, wonderful geniuses, [directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert], who had the courage to write about a very ordinary immigrant, aging woman, mother, daughter,” she said.
She continued, “I was given this gift of playing this woman who resonated so deeply with me and with so many people because, at the end of the day, in whatever universe she was at, she was fighting for love, for her family.”
Before leaving the stage, she shouted out her “Everything Everywhere All at Once” co-stars Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan.
“This is also for all the shoulders that I stand on, all who came before me, who look like me, and all who are going on this journey with me forward,” Yeoh said.
In taking home the musical or comedy acting prize, she beat out Lesley Manville for “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” Margot Robbie for “Babylon,” Anya Taylor-Joy for “The Menu” and Emma Thompson for “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.” Yeoh has been widely considered a frontrunner in the Oscar race, though it’s not clear how much — if any– weight the Globes will hold during the rest of awards season.
This year marks a return for the Globes, which were boycotted in 2022 by talent, media and creatives — and didn’t air on television — after concerns were brought to light about corruption and lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (which at the time had no Black members).
Host Jerrod Carmichael poked fun at the beleaguered HFPA in his monologue, telling the crowd at the Beverly Hilton: “I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here ’cause I’m Black.” He continued, “I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died, so do with that information what you will.”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” a comedy that unfolds across a multiverse, scored six Golden Globes nominations including best musical or comedy, best director and screenplay for Daniels, best supporting actor for Quan and best supporting actress for Curtis. In addition to critical plaudits, it’s the rare pandemic-era indie to resonate at the box office, grossing a stellar $100 million globally.
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