Saturday, December 17, 2022

Michelle Yeoh is Time's 2022 Icon of the Year

After lots of buildup, I'm finally posting about Michelle Yeoh: TIME Icon of the Year 2022.

Since making her debut in Hong Kong action films in the mid-’80s, the now 60-year-old Michelle Yeoh has battled Jet Li in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, flung herself onto a moving car driven by Jackie Chan in Supercop, and jumped off a skyscraper with Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies. She had major roles in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Memoirs of a Geisha; and Crazy Rich Asians. She’s done Marvel, Star Trek, Kung Fu Panda, Minions—Avatar, Transformers, and The Witcher are next. But, until Everything Everywhere All at Once, which premiered in March, she had never been No. 1 on a Hollywood call sheet.

She’s clear about why: Asian actors have long been given stereotypical or inconsequential roles, and rarely top billing. “It shouldn’t be about my race, but it has been a battle,” she says, golden baubles on her jacket clanging as she mimics elbowing her way through a crowd. “At least let me try.”

Which is why the role of Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once was such a revelation. In the hit art-house film directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as Daniels), Yeoh is an overworked, over-burdened immigrant wife and mother facing an IRS audit of the family laundromat when, suddenly, everything changes. She learns that there are multiple versions of the universe, and they’re all facing a threat that only she can stop—if she can figure out how to jump between different realities and pick up skills possessed by different versions of herself. Yeoh has the opportunity to showcase all of her talents—as a martial artist but also, in portraying Evelyn’s deep love for her family, even as she struggles to communicate with them, her abilities as a dramatic actor. It’s a shift for the actor, who toggles between wacky sequences, like a world where humans have hot dogs for fingers, and intimate moments. “She usually plays masters, tough fighters,” says Jet Li. “The action—I know she can do it. But really acting from the heart, believing the part, makes the movie very special.”
Congratulations! It's about time Yeoh got the recognition she deserves. Now to see if she wins at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards and gets an Oscar nomination for "Everything Everywhere All at Once."

Yeoh had more to say about her stunt work in The Biggest Lesson Michelle Yeoh Learned Early in Her Career in Hong Kong.

Before Michelle Yeoh became a celebrated Hollywood star, she was an action star in the rough-and-tumble world of Hong Kong action movies.

Those roles were incredibly physically demanding and could even be dangerous, she recalled Thursday at TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year reception in New York City. The experience taught her to take risks and not be afraid of failure. And she credits that for her success now.
I was thrilled to see Yeoh in the first two episodes of "Star Trek: Discovery" and was disappointed to watch her prime universe version die. However, I was thrilled enough to see her Mirror Universe version appear and return to the series, enough so to vote for her in Best Guest-Starring Performance on Television at the Saturn Awards. I was even more impressed to watch her do her own stunts in a fight scene. I don't care if its for show; I would not ever want to get in a fight with her, even if I'm twice her size!

Follow over the jump for my commentary on the categories won by "Everything Everywhere All at Once" at the Saturn Awards.

As Deadline Hollywood reported, "Everything Everywhere All at Once" has seven nominations followed by "Cruella" with five, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" with four, and one each for "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," "The Green Knight," and "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." My wife and I watched "Cruella," "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore," and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" and our favorite is "Cruella." Pencil that in for my vote until we watch "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent." I expect we'll like the former more than the latter, but my wife might enjoy Nicholas Cage and Pedro Pascal more than I'll enjoy Michelle Yeoh. That's not the important issue; it's whether I think either of them are better than "Cruella."
This is one of three categories where I'm glad I voted for the loser and "Everything Everywhere All at Once" won.

The lead actresses from both of the most nominated superhero films earned nominations here. Since I haven't seen Zendaya's performance yet, I can't say who's better. I can also say that I'm not likely to vote for either. Right now, I'm voting for Emma Stone in "Cruella," but that could change after I watch "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "Nightmare Alley," both of which have excellent nominated actresses. That written, it wouldn't surprise me if either Zoe Kravitz or especially Zendaya wins.
It's entirely possible that I could change my vote to Yeoh, who won Best Actress at the Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) Midseason Awards.I never got around to watching "Everything Everywhere All at Once" before I voted. My mistake!

Like Actor in a Film, nominees from superhero films earned four nominations, the majority of the field. Other than Benedict Wong, they're all villains, Paul Dano as Riddler and Colin Farrell as Penguin from "The Batman" and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Pending my watching "No Way Home," "Nightmare Alley," and "Everything Everywhere All at Once," I'm voting for Paul Dano. I'll revisit my choice after I stream the other three films.
Ke Huy Quan won Best Supporting Actor at the HCA Midseason Awards, so he's a strong choice.
Strong enough that he won. Congratulations!

I told my readers "I plan on writing one more installment on the home entertainment nominees before I vote. Stay tuned" at the end of 'Star Trek' vs. 'Star Wars' in streaming science fiction at the 2022 Saturn Awards. Good thing I did, because I found an eighth nomination for "Everything Everywhere All at Once" in those categories, breaking the tie with "Nope" that Deadline Hollywood reported. Not only am I not surprised, I half-expected something like this would happen because Deadline Hollywood miscounted the nominations for "Knives Out" at last year's Saturn Awards. That movie also had a home entertainment nomination, although I don't know if that contributed to its miscount. Here, it did because of an extraneous comma that seems to have messed up search for the movie's name. I removed the comma from its title below.
This one, I got right. Whew!

This is enough commentary on the Saturn Awards that I'm adding the following linkspam. In the meantime, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature.

Previous posts about the 2022 Saturn Awards Previous posts about Time's People of the Year

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