Michelle Yeoh for a nomination?
Cannot tell you how excited I am to see Michelle Yeoh’s name on almost every list of predictions, so far, for a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in The Lady. That’s three out of 5 for biopics this year if Yeoh, Meryl Streep, and Michelle Williams hold up on the hype.
Yeoh plays Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese freedom fighter and social activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 while under house arrest. She was just released, after almost 15 years of house arrest, last November. The Lady, which screened at TIFF, focuses, of course, on her political efforts but is also a moving tribute to her relationship with her husband Michael, played by David Thewlis, or, um, Remus Lupin to some of us.
Michelle Yeoh and Luc Besson, who directed The Lady, were at the Mill Valley Film Festival this weekend for a spotlight on the actress. Yes... that means there’s a campaign. It may not a particularly well funded one, but the buzz around her is strong enough that right now, she’s considered among the top 6, for sure. Which... I mean for those of us growing up immersed in Asian culture, this is pretty rad.
Like she used to be the girl with the flying kung fu kicks in all the Jackie Chan movies. She started off a beauty pageant girl. Then married the obscenely rich Dickson Poon. As is tradition and expectation in Asia, the wife is then required to “retire” from public life, especially on the arm of such an influential man. That lasted three years. Divorce happened. And then she became one of the most fearless actors in Asian cinema, as insurance companies wouldn’t guarantee her because she insisted on doing her own stunts.
Now Michelle Yeoh being talked about in the same breath as Meryl Streep. And she too, at 49, looks younger than Nicole Kidman.