About halfway through her acceptance speech for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” exit music began to play.
“Shut up, please,” she snapped, with a laugh. “I can beat you up, OK?”
That’s no joke, considering her prolific martial arts acting career.
Yeoh, who was born in Malaysia, had started her speech by discussing the way race affected her Hollywood career.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” she said. “I remember when I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream come true until I got here. Because look at this face. I came here and was told, ‘You’re a minority’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s not possible.’ And then someone said to me, ‘You ... speak ... English.’”
“I mean, forget about them not knowing Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Asia, India. And then I said, ’Yeah, the flight here was about 13 hours long. So I learned.”
She also suggested her winning role felt like a breakaway from Hollywood’s issue with sexism and ageism.
“I turned 60 last year, and I think all of you women understand this: As the days, the years and the numbers get bigger, it seems like opportunities start to get smaller as well. And I probably was at a time where I thought, ’Well, hey, come on, girl, you had a really, really good run. You worked with some of the best people.”
She added: “And so it’s good. It’s all good. Then along came the best gift: ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’”
That was the moment the Globes’ exit music started to play. But Yeoh wasn’t done.
After expertly brushing off the interruption, Yeoh thanked the film’s writers and directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “who had the courage to write about a very ordinary immigrant aging woman, mother, daughter” who was ... being audited by the IRS.
“I was given this gift of playing this woman who resonated so deeply with me and with so many people, because at the end of the day in whatever universe she was at, she was just fighting, fighting for love for her family,” she said.
The comedy-drama was nominated six times at the 2023 Golden Globes, including for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy and Best Director.