She’s Dr Michelle Yeoh now.
On Saturday Michelle received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts by the American Film Institute presented to her by The Daniels, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, who directed her in Everything Everywhere All At Once, considered by almost everyone to be one of the best films of the year. During her acceptance speech Michelle talked about getting into acting, how she started out in action films, training with stuntmen who spent a lot of time teaching her how to fall. As she said:
“I was convinced I was being pranked. I was like, ‘When do I get to do the real stuff: the jumping kick, the roundhouse kick?' And they said to me, ‘How are you going to go up if you don’t know how to come down?’”
This is an anecdote about the power of failure and what I love about it most is that in the sharing of it, with the graduate students who were present at the event, she’s acknowledging the value of her work as an action movie star; Michelle is not interested in diminishing that part of her career, even though she’s been working more recently in dramatic features and series. In fact what she’s saying is that being in action movies helped her become a better actor. An actor who has for far too long been overlooked by Hollywood and specifically the Oscar Academy.
But can they ignore her this year? Everything Everywhere All At Once is not only one of the most acclaimed films of 2022, it’s also A24’s first movie to gross the $100 million mark globally. People have been talking about a Best Actress Oscar nomination for months, ever since Everything Everywhere came out. And even though the film came out early in the year, she has remained in the conversation – I know the conversation doesn’t really get going until the fall, but we’re just a couple of weeks away from Venice, when the contenders start making their movies, and if she’s being held up as the standard of the year, it means she’s taken up space and that will definitely help with her campaign. There is no way A24 won’t be campaigning for her.
Michelle just celebrated her 60th birthday and there was a surprise party planned.
There were multiple birthday surprises actually – because in Chinese culture more festivity brings more luck. The 60th birthday is particularly important for us because we consider 60 to be one full circle and the beginning of a new cycle of life. You want to start the new cycle off surrounded by as much joy and happiness as possible. Michelle is enjoying her 60th at one of the highest points in her career, proving that women can still rise after six decades. Michelle Yeoh is still going up.
Yours in gossip,