Asian splash: Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan make history at SAG Awards

Frederic J. Brown/agence france-presse Michelle Yeoh

The absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once was the big winner at the 29th Screen Actors Guild Awards last Sunday, 26 February.

The SAG trophies (known as the Actor) are considered a barometer for Oscar success. Last year, SAG winners Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Troy Kotsur, and Ariana Debose all went on to scoop Oscars.

Everything Everywhere All at Once received five nominations and impressively converted them into four wins: Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis, and Best Picture.

Yeoh became the first woman of Asian descent to win the lead acting honor in SAG history.

“I think if I speak, my heart will explode,” she said as she took the stage, in Schiaparelli haute couture, after being called by Jeff Bridges.

“SAG-AFTRA, to get this from you, who understands what it is to get here. Every one of you knows the journey, the rollercoaster ride, the ups and downs. But most importantly, we never give up.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is not just for me, this is for every single girl that looks like me,” she added. “We want to be seen; we want to be heard, and tonight, you have shown us that it is possible, and I am grateful, and my mom will be eternally grateful to you.”

Frederic J. Brown/agence france-presse
Ke Huy Quan

Yeoh’s co-star Ke Huy Quan also made history, becoming the first Asian male winner for playing her on-screen husband in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

An emotional Quan said: “This moment no longer belongs to just me, it also belongs to everyone who has asked for change.”

The SAG winner then looked at the crowd and called out the names of the night’s nominees, including co-stars Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu. “The landscape looks so different now than before. So thank you so much to everyone in this room who contributed to these changes,” he said.

Frederic J. Brown/agence france-presse
Jamie Lee Curtis

He concluded by addressing those watching the ceremonies at home: “Please keep on going because the spotlight will one day find you.”

Quan is now the frontrunner for the Academy Awards, after having also won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards.

Should he win the Oscar, it will make him the second Asian to win the Best Supporting Actor category after Cambodian-American gynecologist and obstetrician-turned-actor Haing S. Ngor clinched the honor for The Killing Fields in 1985.

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