Michelle Yeoh makes history, Rihanna’s on the EGOT trail, but the Academy still took one big step backward.
Michelle Yeoh’s critically acclaimed performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once really is everything, everywhere all at once — and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rightfully agrees. On Tuesday morning, Yeoh officially nabbed a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her turn in the A24 film, making her the first Asian-identifying woman in history to score the honor.
The Malaysian-born star and Time’s 2022 Icon of the Year first found success in Hong Kong as a working movie actor before coming over to the U.S., where she’s landed memorable roles in films like Tomorrow Never Dies and Crazy Rich Asians, proving to Hollywood that it’s never too late to make it big (or to become a style icon, for that matter).
Yeoh’s nomination isn’t the only feel-good moment from this morning’s announcement. Angela Bassett also made history; her Best Supporting Actress nomination for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marks the first time a Marvel Cinematic Universe performer received an Oscar nomination, per ET. And Rihanna made personal history, earning her first Best Original Song nomination for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s “Lift Me Up” (along with Nigerian singer Tems, director Ryan Coogler, and composer Ludwig Göransson) which honestly makes the years-long wait for a new album well worth it.
But these uplifting tidbits and Yeoh’s industry-disrupting step forward come with a big disappointing step back. Despite the Academy’s attempt to diversify their award categories in recent years, the list of 2023 Oscar nominees still comes up short.
In 2015, #OscarsSoWhite took over social media feeds, shining the spotlight on Hollywood’s race issue. Eight years later, not much has changed; exactly zero Black women were nominated for Best Actress, despite the presence of multiple attention-garnering films (like Till, starring Danielle Deadwyler and The Woman King, starring Viola Davis).
This year’s nominations also left women out of the coveted Best Director category, prompting some to use #OscarsSoMale in protest, Variety reported. The exclusion is particularly strange since women took home the big prize the last two years: Chloé Zhao for Nomadland in 2021 and Jane Campion for Power of the Dog in 2022. In fact, in the 95-year history of the Oscars, only seven women have been nominated for Best Director and only three have won.
“Once again, Academy voters have shown that they don’t value women’s voices, shutting us out of the Best Director nominations,” the organization Women In Film said in a statement following nomination announcements, per Variety. “An Academy Award is more than a gold statue, it’s a career accelerator that can lead to continued work and increased compensation.”