And the Oscars goes to…unwavering dreams!

Michelle Yeoh wins the Oscar for Actress In A Leading Role at the 95th Academy Awards. This makes her the first Asian woman, as well as the second woman of color, to win the award.

In comparison to its counterparts the Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Awards, the Academy Awards, or the Oscars, stand out the most. The Oscars are highly regarded as the most prestigious award ceremony of the year. World-renowned films are recognized and rewarded by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a grand way. However, this year was especially notable. Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once) made history and Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) and Brendon Fraser (The Whale) made iconic comebacks.

The Oscar nominations were stacked with several worthy contenders. The hype behind films like Elvis, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and All Quiet on the Western Front were promising, but, ultimately, none of them won “Big Five” (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay) awards. Elvis and Blonde are biographical dramas based around the lives of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, respectively. Austin Butler was praised for his method acting, but Ana de Armas’ performance was met with mixed reactions. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is the sequel of the 2018 box-office hit Black Panther. It rightfully won the Costume Design award.

The most popular movie going into the Oscars was Everything Everywhere All At Once, a fantastical fiction film that highlights the necessity of love. The film is applauded for having an Asian-American family in the forefront. In total, the film won seven awards, four of them being “Big Five” awards. Michelle Yeoh won Best Actress In A Leading Role for her performance as Evelyn Wang and Ke Huy Quan won Best Actor In A Supporting Role for his performance as Waymond Wang. The Wangs are a family of Chinese immigrants who jump through several universes to save each other from their insecurities. The movie’s additional wins include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Film Editing.

Yeoh and Quan’s wins were the most significant of the night. Yeoh became the second woman of color to win Best Actress and was presented her award by Halle Berry, who was the first. In her speech, she acknowledged that her win was a beacon of hope to Asian people and older women alike.

Quan was a well-known childhood star before starring in the seven-time Oscar-winning film. He starred in movies like The Goonies and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. He took a break from acting because the roles offered to him as an Asian man were limiting. Inspired by the movie Crazy Rich Asians, his passion for acting was reignited. “Dreams are something you have to believe in, I almost gave up on mine. To all of you out there, please keep your dreams alive!” he said in his emotional speech after winning “Best Actor In A Supporting Role”.

A fateful occurrence would have his Encino Man cast mate also win big. Brendan Fraser is coincidingly having a career resurgence (dubbed the ‘Brenaissance’) after over a decade of absence. His performance in The Whale has been garnering praise for his realistic portrayal of food addiction. Satisfaction filled the hearts of ‘90s kids when the actor’s fantastic work was finally honored.

Last year, the Oscars was clouded by drama between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but this year hope filled the arena. The energy heightened when a vibrant performance of the viral Indian dance “Naatu Naatu” graced the stage.

On the evening of Mar 12th , EEAAO became one of the most awarded films of all time. A feat that was once considered unfathomable for a primarily Asian cast is now celebrated. This historic moment can be traced back to their successes at the Golden Globes and SAG awards, but the successes of the films Black Panther and Parasite were contributors too. From Oscar nominee Merle Oberon hiding her Indian ancestry in fear of losing work to Michelle Yeoh proudly declaring how significant her achievement is for the Asian community, this year’s Oscars represents triumph after a decades long struggle for representation.