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Michelle Yeoh Is TIME’s Icon of the Year!!!!

Michelle Yeoh at ELLE's Women of the Year gala

Michelle Yeoh, who would be everyone’s number one contender for the Best Actress Oscar win this year for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, has been named TIME’s Icon of the Year! Yeoh has been an icon since the very beginning of her rise to fame and someone that many of us grew up idolizing, so to see her finally getting her time as the legend she’s always been is exciting!

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Yeoh joins TIME’s Athlete of the Year Aaron Judge in the press release for the announcement, but it really is all about Yeoh this award season, and it’s frankly about time. While she’s not by any means an “unknown” star, she was a queen to those of us who were on the nerdy side of things. But with Everything Everywhere All at Once, she showed everyone just how badass she is and it is leading to her taking over the award circuit, so yes, she is an icon and this award is so deserved!

“If life is a series of decisions that set you on your own path, Yeoh has made some good ones,” TIME’s Lucy Feldman wrote. “Starring in a film about confronting multiple realities has meant she’s been answering questions about alternate versions of her own life all year—what if she’d never injured her back as a teen ballerina? What if she’d had children and remained retired? What if Tarantino had never visited her? Her answer is always the same: There’s no point in wondering what if. Her life has gone the way it has gone, and there’s only forward from here.”

The press release included quotes about Yeoh from her former co-star Jet Li! “She usually plays masters, tough fighters,” he said. “The action—I know she can do it. But really acting from the heart, believing the part, makes the movie very special.”

Yeoh talks Hollywood, her experience, and the Oscar race

When it comes to working hard in this business, Yeoh is no stranger to it. But she also pointed out that she has a different experience than some of her peers. As an Asian woman, her opportunities are limited, and she opened up about her own envy in wanting to showcase her talent in different ways. “I do look at all my peers—Cate Blanchett, Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren—and go, Oh God, I envy all the different opportunities you get to showcase your talent again and again,” she said. “When you get an opportunity like this, you have to pour your heart and soul into it, because you don’t know when the next chance is. I think that is my biggest fear: Please don’t let this be the one and only.”

Which leads into the race for the Oscar. No Asian actress has ever taken home the Best Actress win and Yeoh is definitely a contender for it this year. But the pressure is clearly on knowing that this could be a historic win. “I’ve thought about it,” she said. “And not just me—I feel like my full Asian community has thought about it. They come up to me and they say, ‘You’re doing it for us.’”

Everything Everywhere All at Once was Yeoh at her best

Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once. Image: A24.

I hope that this is the start of Yeoh’s award season bliss and she goes on to take home the big prize for her work as Evelyn Wang. The movie did an incredible job in highlighting what makes Yeoh such a dynamic performer while showcasing the talent she’s always possessed. Evelyn was a fighter, but she was also a complicated woman trying to find balance in her life.

The movie was so breathtaking in how it depicted a mother/daughter relationship, how Evelyn and Waymond worked throughout the different timelines together, and it was just a really good movie in such a way that makes it easy to root for Yeoh and company this award season.

Congratulations to Michelle Yeoh! You’ve always been an icon, but I hope this continues to be the Michelle Yeoh-nassiance we all deserve.

(featured image: Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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