5 Michelle Yeoh movies to add to your watch-list
Time to get acquainted with the new Oscar winner’s best works.
Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh wrote her name into history after becoming the first person of Asian descent to win an Oscar as the best actress in a leading role.
The historic win comes shortly after her Golden Globe win in January for the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy award for the same film, Everything Everywhere All at Once, which is touted to be the “buzziest” in 2022.
But that is not the only film that has won her an award, or got her recognition.
From her Hollywood blockbusters to her Chinese action films, here are five of Yeoh’s notable works that put her on the map:
Tomorrow Never Dies
After achieving stardom in a series of Hong Kong films, Yeoh moved to the United States to debut in her first Hollywood film, Tomorrow Never Dies, where she became known to a wider audience through her role as a Chinese agent in the 18th instalment of the James Bond series.
The 1997 box office hit follows British secret agent James Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) as he tries to stop a media mogul named Elliot Carver from starting a war between China and the United Kingdom in order to boost his ratings.
As Bond and Wai Lin investigate Carver’s activities, they find themselves in a series of dangerous situations including a high-speed car chase through the streets of Germany and a fight on board a boat.
While its critical reception was mixed, with some criticising the film’s plot for lacking depth, the film was a commercial success.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Three years after her Hollywood debut, Yeoh was cast in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon which made her a household name among American audiences.
The film, set in 19th century China, narrates the story of legendary warriors Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) on a mission to recover a stolen sword known as the Green Destiny.
They then pursue the sword across China, encountering various obstacles and enemies along the way.
The hunt for the sword subsequently leads them to the House of Yu where the story takes on unexpected twists and turns.
The critically-acclaimed film was a blockbuster hit, earning Yeoh her first nomination in the Western world, for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 54th British Academy Film Awards.
The martial arts epic film was also the first film Yeoh was part of that was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and remains the highest-grossing non-English language film.
In 2011, Yeoh was widely praised for her role in The Lady, a biographical film that captures the journey of Aung San Suu Kyi, the symbol of democracy in Myanmar.
The biopic sheds light on the assassination of Suu Kyi’s father and her romantic life in parallel to her political ascendency. It also depicts the sacrifices made by Suu Kyi and her family as well as the brutal repression of the military junta that has violently cracked down on protests and arrested thousands of dissidents.
Michelle Yeoh’s portrayal of Aung San Suu Kyi was commended. The film also earned several nominations, including Best Original Score at the Academy Awards and Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards.
Crazy Rich Asians
Yet another box office success, Yeoh’s portrayal of Eleanor Sung-Young in the 2018 romantic film Crazy Rich Asians earned praise by critics and audiences alike.
The film follows the story of Rachel Chu (played by Constance Wu), a Chinese-American professor who meets her long-time boyfriend’s (Nick Young – played by Henry Golding) family and discovers that they are among the richest in Singapore. Rachel is then met with disapproval from Nick’s mother, Eleanor, who thinks she is not good enough for her son.
Yeoh’s commanding screen presence as Eleanor – despite limited scenes – performance was noted to have added emotional weight to the film’s themes of family and identity.
Everything Everywhere all at Once
The sci-fi film that propelled Yeoh to the Best Actress award at the Oscars centres around a laundromat owner, Evelyn Wang, who is thrust into a multiverse adventure.
The female protagonist lives a simple life in a small town in America with her family until she discovers that she is connected to multiple versions of herself across different parallel universes.
As Wang navigates through the multiverse, she encounters different versions of herself and the people she knows, including a version of herself who is a ruthless crime boss, a world where she’s married to a different husband and a version of her daughter who is a warrior in a post-apocalyptic world.
Everything Everywhere all at Once received critical acclaim for its innovative storyline, stunning visuals and powerful performances from the cast. The film also took home seven Oscars on Mar 12 and is the biggest Oscar winner since Slumdog Millionaire.