AceShowbiz - Michelle Yeoh has spoken up after making history with her best actress nomination at the upcoming Academy Awards. While being the first Asian to score a nod in the category is a big feat for her personally, the 60-year-old said such recognition has "taken a long time" for her Asian peers.
"It's taken a long time. But I think this is more than me," Yeoh told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, January 24. "At the present moment, constantly, all the time, having Asians walking up to me saying, 'You can do it, you're doing it for us.' It's like, 'I understand. I totally understand.' All this time, they've not been recognized, they've not been heard."
Also nominated in the category are Cate Blanchett for her role in "Tar", Ana de Armas for her role in Marilyn Monroe biopic "Blonde" as well as Andrea Riseborough ("To Leslie") and Michelle Williams ("The Fabelmans"). While most of them have appeared as strong contenders throughout the awards season, Riseborough's nod comes as a surprise since her movie was relatively unheard of compared to other nominees'.
"I'm astounded," she admitted to Deadline after the nominations were announced. "It's such an unexpected ray of light. It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn't been in the running for anything else. Even though we had a lot of support, the idea it might actually happen seemed so far away."
With no budget for an awards campaign, they took it on themselves to make sure the film was entered onto the Academy's screening portal and relied on friends' help to support the film at screenings. "I'm not entirely sure how the f**k this happened," Riseborough shared. "After SXSW there was a quiet lull. And then slowly, as the film had a few screenings elsewhere - including at Raindance, which was a big deal because we hadn't had a release in the U.K. - we found people were starting to talk about it. And people were asking us: 'Why can I not go and see it? Where can I see it?' After a while, we were able to point them to iTunes and Amazon, but it didn't happen right away."
Riseborough credited producer Claude Dal Farra for continuing to champion the film. "Without a producer like Claude, we wouldn't have come this far," she said. "It takes one person to believe that it's worth sharing."
Also sharing the same excitement are fellow nominees such as Angela Bassett, Colin Farrell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Brendan Fraser among others. Bassett (Best Supporting Actress, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"), said the nomination made her morning "a little extra special." She went on gushing, "What has drawn me to each of the women I've portrayed throughout my career is their strength, compassion, resilience, and power."
She added, " 'Wakanda Forever' 's Queen Ramonda is a character that touched my spirit because she is a mother and a leader who must care for her grieving nation as much as she cares for her family in mourning. Ramonda is a love letter that reflects and acknowledges what we women do everyday."
Curtis, who is nominated alongside Bassett and her "Everything Everywhere All at Once" co-star Stephanie Hsu in the Best Supporting Actress category, humbly reacted, "It was never even in my wildest dream box." She added, "I am stunned and humbled and excited for our little movie that could and did and based on today's nominations, continues to do and do and do. @everythingeverywheremovie @a24."
Farrell (Best Actor in a Leading Role, "The Banshees of Inisherin") was "just so grateful to the Academy for all the love it's shared with the 'Banshees' cast and crew." He also felt "beyond honored to be lumped together with my fellow nominees. A heartfelt congratulations to all the lads!"
Fraser (Best Actor in a Leading Role, The Whale") said in a statement, "I'm absolutely overjoyed and deeply grateful to The Academy for this recognition and for recognizing Hong Chau's beautiful performance and Adrien Morot's incredible makeup." He thanked director Darren Aronofsky, scribe Samuel D. Hunter and the cast and crew of the film for giving him "a gift I certainly didn't see coming, but it's one that has profoundly changed my life."