PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are on pins and needles as they await with bated breath for the results of Ipoh-born actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s 95th Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress on Monday (March 13).
Yeoh became the first Malaysian to ever receive an Oscar nomination on Jan 24 shortly after making history as the first Malaysian Golden Globe award winner on Jan 11 for her lead role in the 2022 runaway success film, “Everything Everywhere All At Once”.
The actress is only the second Asian to have ever received a nomination for Best Actress and stands the highest chance of being the first to win the coveted award.
Operation planning manager Abby Chan, 32, said that Yeoh had become a role model for her to strive for her own dreams.
“The passion and determination in everything she does are truly infectious. It has really inspired me to believe in myself and that every hardship I go through will eventually lead to my final goal.
“It was really cool to watch her speak her lines the Malaysian way during ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ with the occasional signature Malaysian ‘hai-yah’s’ here and there, just like how we locals speak.
“I’ll be praying really hard for her to win and make Malaysia proud,” she said, adding that Yeoh’s charismatic acting and jokes in “Everything Everywhere All At Once" had made the film her favourite movie of all time.
Technician Abdul Adi, 25, said that Yeoh’s achievements had turned him into a true believer in Malaysians’ potential of becoming global success stories.
“I wasn’t a believer at first that a Malaysian could become so well known globally until I heard of Yeoh.
“She has really set the bar high for not just us Malaysians, but Asians as a whole; I’ll definitely be rooting for her all the way,” he said, adding that due to work, he would unfortunately be unable to watch the results live but that he would keep up to date through news articles.
Final-year university student and Yeoh fan, Anthony Lau, 26, said that he was incredibly happy that Yeoh was finally getting widespread global and local recognition for her hard work.
“It always amazed me that despite losing her over 10-year-long ballet career to a spinal injury when she was 15, she still had the willpower to shift focus to learn performative arts in action movies.
“Her close friend and fellow veteran actor Jackie Chan has won an Oscar before, it would only be fitting if she wins it too.
“She deserves the win after all the training and hardships she’s had to endure to get to this point,” he said, adding that he loves to rewatch Yeoh’s Kung Fu action scenes in all her movies and that he would be tuning in to watch the event on an online platform.
Azhnol Amriel, 25, who works in an audit company, said Yeoh’s subtle comedic side alone was the best part of her films and highlights Yeoh’s otherwise hardworking persona.
“She’s most known for being adventurous and her Kung Fu action skills, but I also enjoy the comedic bits she puts in her roles from the occasional ‘hai-yahs’ and ‘lahs’.
“Her authentic Malaysian accent and comedic style were perfect, it made me feel incredibly proud to be a Malaysian seeing our national style showcased on the global big screen and get recognised for it.
“Wishing her all the best and ‘Hidup Malaysia’,” he said, adding that he absolutely loved “Shaolin Popey II: Messy Temple” due to the comedic action nature of the film.
Retired teacher Lim Tee Hock, 71, said he never thought he would ever be able to witness a Malaysian make it this big on the world stage.
“This is history in the making, Yeoh’s never give up attitude and spirit have truly shown all Malaysians that with enough determination, we can achieve anything.
“I and my old friends will be toasting to her success tomorrow regardless if she wins or not,” he said, adding that he would be watching the unforgettable moment online.
Lim said his favourite Yeoh movie was the 2000’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", adding that Yeoh’s excellent performance in the martial arts heroes “wuxia” film was one of the highlights of her career for him.
The Academy Awards, aimed at recognising the best achievements in the American film industry, is held annually and will be aired live on various platforms at 8am on Monday (March 13).