KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian artistes and royalty celebrated Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s win at the Oscars as a milestone for diversity and inclusion in the global film industry, and for shining a spotlight on the country.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah congratulated Yeoh in an Instagram post yesterday, saying she has done the nation proud.
“We’d like to express our pride and joy over Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh’s achievement that has placed Malaysia on the world map.
“This is proof that with dedication, high fighting spirit and hard work, Malaysians are capable of competing and succeeding at the international level,” the post read.
Adding his congratulations was the president of the Artistes Association of Malaysia (Seniman), Rozaidi Abdul Jamil, better known as Zed Zaidi.
“Yeoh is a highly respected and talented actress who has been a trailblazer for Asian representation in Hollywood,” he said.
“Furthermore, Yeoh is a proud Malaysian and has been a great ambassador for this country, so a win at the Oscars undoubtedly brings great pride and joy to her fellow Malaysians.”
Yeoh bagged the Best Actress statuette at the 95th Academy Awards, which was held in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
She is the first Asian to win in this category and the first Malaysian to receive an Oscar.
Her award was for her role in the film Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Zed Zaidi added: “Yeoh’s achievements serve as an inspiration and a reminder that talent and hard work can take you far, regardless of your background or where you come from.
“I hope that other Malaysian artistes will be inspired by Yeoh’s success and continue to pursue their dreams with passion and dedication.”
Actress Sangeeta Krishnasamy, who professes to be a fan of Yeoh, has watched Everything Everywhere All At Once twice.
“When I walked out of the cinema after watching the movie, I told myself she’s gonna win an Oscar this year,” she said.
Sangeeta was one of the local celebrities invited to a special viewing party at a cinema in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The event was hosted by the Yeoh family, including Yeoh’s mother, Datin Janet Yeoh, her sister-in-law Megan Mei Ling Fong, niece Vicki, as well as nephews Kelvin and Max.
“I’ve watched a lot of her interviews. And one of the things she said – that I believe as well – is to do what you believe in,” Sangeeta said.
Model-actress Amber Chia said she was in awe of the great looks the actress has been bringing to the awards circuit.
“She inspired me in so many ways,” said Chia at the viewing party’s red carpet.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, who sat next to Yeoh’s mum at the viewing party, also shared her pride over Yeoh winning an Oscar.
“I have met Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh; she is a very professional and very humble lady. And this is the kind of Malaysian we want to project to the world,” Nancy noted.
At the event, Nancy presented Yeoh with the Anugerah Wanita Kasih Unggul award in conjunction with International Women’s Day, which was marked on March 8, with Janet receiving the award on her daughter’s behalf.
With Yeoh forging a path for more Asian artistes to showcase their talent on the global stage, the hope is for the performing industry to become more inclusive and diverse in the years to come.
As for what it means for Malaysians, Zed Zaidi said: “My hope is that the success of artistes like Yeoh will help to shine a spotlight on the rich cultural heritage and artistic talent that Malaysia has to offer.”
Also taking to social media to congratulate Yeoh was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said the nation took enormous pride in Yeoh’s achievements during her critically-acclaimed acting career that has spanned decades.
“Coupled with this latest accomplishment, Michelle’s illustrious and exemplary career in this field will certainly continue to be a source of great inspiration and motivation to our homegrown actors and actresses, and provide even greater impetus for the growth of our local industry.
“Way to go, Michelle!” Anwar wrote on Facebook.