Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh to Become First Asian Artist to Receive AFI Honorary Degree

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By Michelle Liew

Veteran actress Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh will become the first Asian artist to receive the honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from the American Film Institute (AFI). The Malaysian star, with nearly 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry, got her start in Hong Kong martial arts cinema before rising to international fame in the 90s, after starring in films where she did her own stunts, taking roles in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Michelle has continued to prove herself a bankable actress after the 2000s with notable works in her filmography including Memoirs of a Geisha, Crazy Rich Asians, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

This year, she takes on the role as Evelyn Wang—an Asian immigrant wife and mother trying to be everything for everyone in the genre-blending film Everything Everywhere All at Once. The film has received widespread critical acclaim.

Michelle will receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from the American Film Institute (AFI) “for contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image.” She will be the first Asian artist to receive this AFI honour. She will be receiving her degree during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony celebrating the Class of 2022 on August 13 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

This honour adds on to the list of accolades Michelle has received and will be the first of many over the coming months. Her recent role in Everything Everywhere All at Once has ignited Oscar buzz as this is the first time she has taken such a dynamic role and delivered an amazing performance. Her high praise is undeniable and hopefully the industry will start to appreciate the versatility she has as an actress, especially as an actress with Asian descent.

We Malaysians are extremely proud of you, Michelle Yeoh!


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