Malaysian actor Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian to win the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress on Sunday.
Since 1909, the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures has brought together filmmakers, film enthusiasts and academics to select the best works of the year in an effort to support cinema as “both art and entertainment.”
The National Board of Review Awards include: Top Film, Best Director, Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Adapted/Original Screenplay, Breakthrough Performance, Directorial Debut, Best Animated Feature and more. The awards are considered a predictive precursor for the Academy Awards.
“I feel like I’ve entered my own metaverse,” Yeoh expressed in her acceptance speech.
“I am so incredibly proud to be the first Asian actress in 45 years to receive this honor,” Yeoh stated through tears and a beaming smile. “I hope it means that Hollywood and the filmmaking community recognizes what a watershed film this is, and all the things I’ve stood for and tried to accomplish in my four-decade career.”
“This award proves we can tell our own stories in and on our terms […] Together, all of us working as one with love, with respect and compassion for each other makes the perfect everything bagel.”
During her speech, Yeoh also took a look back on her journey from Malaysia to Hollywood.
Faced with racism in Hollywood, Yeoh reveals she “kept on fighting, […] insisting on better representation and better roles.”
“Through it all, I just wanted to make movies that mattered,” the beloved actress confessed. “Then, I received the script for ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’ […] In these times of turmoil and trouble, it is a movie about hope, about kindness and family.”
Alongside Yeoh’s historical win, “Top Gun: Maverick” was awarded Best Film, Steven Spielberg won Best Director for “The Fabelmans” and Colin Farrell won Best Actor for his role in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”