KUALA LUMPUR – Michelle Yeoh says she is looking for new challenges including as a producer, as she credited perseverance, hard work and passion for her historic Oscar win last month.
The 60-year-old became the first Asian to win the Academy Award for best actress for her performance as a laundromat owner in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” The movie won a total of seven awards, including best picture.
Returning to her native Malaysia to celebrate her mother’s birthday, Yeoh said she felt a sense of relief after clinching the award.
“It was a roller coaster ride that started last year when the movie first came out. It was a whole year of not knowing, wanting, hoping, wishing,” she told a news conference. “During the journey, everyone was asking, ‘Do you want the Oscar?’ I said, hell, yes, of course I want the Oscar. Who doesn’t? I am not going to beat around the bush and say no because it represents so much to so many of us.”
Yeoh reiterated that her Oscar victory was a “beacon of hope” for Asian women.
“It shows us it can be done and all of you can do it,” she said.
Yeoh, who started her career in Hong Kong before becoming a Hollywood star, said she was blessed to have been able to work on diverse movies and with “forward thinking filmmakers to fight for what I truly believe in — representation, diversity, especially empowerment of women.” She said she refuses to be boxed in stereotypical roles but believes in pushing the envelope in her career.
While she has no interest in directing, she said she may branch out again as a producer.
“Directors have no life. I love my life too much,” she said in jest. “I love producing. I have produced before and now I can start to do so again … now I am able to branch out more because people have started to listen, and appreciate what you can bring forward. As an actor, I love what I can do. I am so lucky to be able to say it’s not a job, it’s really a passion.”
Yeoh said she will be heading back to London to complete the filming of “Wicked,” a two-part movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical directed by Jon Chu. She said she hopes to return to Asia in the next few months.
“I am always looking for a challenge,” Yeoh said. “I believe there is so much to do in our part of the world. All of us collectively. Don’t isolate yourself. Don’t feel that I must always tell my story. We are collaborators, we are storytellers. Let’s work together and do great things.”
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