The 95th Academy Awards commenced yesterday and it made an enormous imprint on the history of the prestigious ceremony.
History was made in multiple categories at the Oscars on Sunday, including the first Asian “Best Actress” winner (and second Asian Oscar winner for “Best Supporting Actor”), the first Indian film winning best original song, and the first Black woman to win two Oscars.
The story of the night had to do with the Malaysian native, Michelle Yeoh, who has been the talk of Hollywood since the start of the awards season, already having won other awards including, a Golden Globe, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SAG Award, along with numerous other nominations.
But she made the biggest impact at the 2023 Oscars as she was the first Asian actress to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the A24 film, Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Her acceptance speech says it all for how proud she feels for this great achievement.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” she said after accepting her Oscar. “This is proof — dream big and dreams do come true.”
“And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past your prime,” she added, dedicating the award to her mother whom she referred to as a “superhero”.
Yeoh talked with reporters after the show and talked further on the importance and impact her victory holds for her and the rest of the world.
“I have to thank the academy for acknowledging, embracing diversity and true representation,” she started, per ET.
“I think this is something that we have been working so hard towards for a very long time, and tonight we freaking broke that glass ceiling. I kung fu’d it out and shattered it, and we need this because there are so many who felt unseen, unheard,” she continued, adding the award is especially important to “the Asian community and anyone who has ever been identified as a minority.”
The big night was especially historic for the Asian community, as Yeoh’s co-star, Vietnam-born Ke Huy Quan won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, being only the second Asian man to win the award after Haing S. Ngor in 1985 for his role in the film, The Killing Fields.
With Malaysia and Vietnam checked off, the Asian representation kept piling with the Best Original Song going to MM Keeravani for writing the song, “Naatu Naatu”, which was featured in the Indian-made film, RRR.
The composer said the song was “the pride of every Indian” during his speech.
The official Twitter account of the film also shared a message celebrating the win, writing, “We’re blessed that #RRRMovie is the first feature film to bring INDIA’s first ever #Oscar in the Best Song Category with #NaatuNaatu! No words can describe this surreal moment. Dedicating this to all our amazing fans across the world. THANK YOU!!”
One of the singers from the track, Kaala Bhairava, spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on why the song meant so much and deserved an award for being “rooted to its nativity”.
“That’s the most beautiful part of the Oscars,” he added, “people from all over the world coming together, representing their own culture and their own art forms and being appreciated by people from other countries and communities.”
Another amazing historical landmark from Sunday’s Academy Awards show was Ruth E. Carter winning her second Oscar for Best Costume Design, marking the first Black woman to have won two Oscars in their life.
Carter was awarded her first Oscar back in 2019 for her part as costume designer in Black Panther, and similarly, she won her second one for the sequel of the critically acclaimed Marvel movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
“I pulled myself up from my bootstraps,” she said after the show. “I wanted to be a costume designer. I studied, I scraped, I dealt with adversity in the industry that sometimes didn’t look like me. And I endured. So, I feel that this win opens the door for other young costume designers that may not think that this industry is for them. And hopefully they will see me, and they will see my story, and they will think that they can win an Oscar too.”
Carter has been in the business for some time now, most notably a costume designer for films like Malcolm X and School Daze.
With another Awards season in the books, we look forward to what 2023 will bring for Hollywood, with some exciting titles already set to be released.