Jan 24, 2023 - Economy & Business

Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu make 2023 Oscars history

"Everything Everywhere All at Once" stars Michelle Yeoh (left) and Stephanie Hsu. Photos: Amy Sussman/Getty Images (left), Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Four actors of Asian descent — Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan and Hong Chau — received Oscar nominations Tuesday morning.

Why it matters: It's the largest group of performers of Asian descent to be recognized in primary acting categories in a single year, Variety notes.

  • Yeoh, Hsu and Quan are nominated for their performances in "Everything Everywhere All at Once," and Chau for her performance in "The Whale."
  • Yeoh is also making history as the first, self-identified actress of Asian descent nominated for the lead actress award in the Oscars' nearly 100-year history.

What they're saying: "It's taken a long time. But I think this is more than me,” Yeoh told The Hollywood Reporter after the nominations were announced.

  • "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.”
  • As nominations were announced, Yeoh said she was afraid of letting so many people down if her name wasn't called.
  • "It’s been my nightmare for the last two days, because it could happen, right? How am I gonna walk out that door? And all these disappointed Asian faces looking: ‘Why did you not do it for us?’”

The big picture: The Oscars’ best actress category has been one of the awards body’s "whitest and least diverse ... among the four acting races," according to THR.

  • The academy has been trying to diversify its membership following #OscarsSoWhite outcries in 2015 and 2016, The New York Times notes.

Our thought bubble: While the makeup of a nominating organization is important, the full creation pipeline — from story selection and scripts, to producers, casting and marketing — needs to exist in a way that builds opportunities for talent of different backgrounds to shine.

What to watch: The ceremony for the 95th Academy Awards is expected to air on ABC on March 12.

  • Viewership for the live broadcast has plummeted by more than 72% since its highs in the late 90s.

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