Michelle Yeoh: ‘I hope this will shatter that frigging glass ceiling.’

The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star said she was “bursting with joy” but “a little sad” that previous Asian actresses hadn’t been recognized.

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By Maya Salam

Michelle Yeoh was on a Zoom call on Tuesday with her “Everything Everywhere All at Once” family — including her co-stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan and James Hong and the directors Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan — when she got the news that had her “bursting with joy”: She was nominated for best actress for her performance as the cantankerous laundromat owner in the film, a sci-fi acid trip through time, space and human experience.

“We want to hold each other’s hands, even though they’re in America and I’m now in Paris, and so we’ve been screaming at the top of our heads,” she said by phone shortly after the nominations were announced. It’s no wonder: “Everything Everywhere All at Once” led the day with 11 nominations, including best picture.

Should she win, Yeoh — who was born in Malaysia and became a movie star in Asia before crossing over worldwide in films like “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000) and “Crazy Rich Asians” (2018) — would become the first Asian woman to win a lead actress Oscar. (She won her first Golden Globe earlier this month.)

“Ninety-five years of Oscars,” she said. “Of course, I’m over the moon, but I feel a little sad because I know we know there have been amazing actresses from Asia that come before me, and I stand on their shoulders.” She added, “I hope this will shatter that frigging glass ceiling to no end, that this will continue, and we will see more of our faces up there.”

Yeoh, 60, said that the film, which was released last March and went on to become a surprise box office success amid the pandemic, resonated in part because it came “at a time where we all needed to be healed.”

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