Who made history at the 2023 Oscars? Michelle Yeoh, “Naatu Naatu”, more
With a plethora of newly nominated actors and films, the 2023 Oscars marked a memorable night of firsts for many.
From Jamie Lee Curtis’ first nomination (and win) to pregnant Rihanna’s first performance at the Oscars, Sunday night at the Dolby Theater will be remembered by many for its many “firsts.” But more than that, some nominees and films are breaking records in the awards’ 95-year history.
Who goes down in history with their victory? Here’s a look at some of the ways tonight was historic to remember.
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Michelle Yeoh: first Asian-identified actress to win
Industry veteran Yeoh, 60, who received national acclaim for her performance in the most nominated film ‘Everything, Everywhere All At Once’, took home one of the biggest prizes of the night: best actress. She is the first actress who openly identifies as Asian to win the award. Yeoh’s closest achievement came in 1936, when Indian-born actress Merle Oberon was nominated for her lead role in “The Dark Angel.” Given the tenor of the times, Oberon hid his Métis heritage. She lost that year to Bette Davis, who won for her role in “Dangerous.”
“It’s a beacon of hope and possibility,” Yeoh said in tears during her acceptance speech, calling the moment “a story in the making.” “It’s proof that you have to dream big, that dreams come true.”
Guillermo del Toro: First to win Best Film, Best Director and Best Animated Film
Mexican filmmaker Del Toro, 58, known for ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Nightmare Alley’, witnessed a night to remember, winning three major accolades for his 2022 animated film ‘Pinocchio’.
“It’s great to have an image, a director and an animation because they define what I’ve loved all my life since I was a kid,” del Toro said in the press room. “I want one for makeup effects one day. But it’s beautiful, and it will help us implement more movement in the community in Mexico and Latin America to keep pushing for the motionless movement, which is one of the most democratic forms of animation.”
“Naatu Naatu”: First Indian film song to be nominated and win an Oscar.
“Naatu Naatu,” the upbeat tune that went viral on TikTok from Indian musical film “RRR,” won best original song on Sunday night, becoming the first song from an Indian film to win the award. Other nominees included Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” (“Top Gun”), Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Sofia Carson’s “Applause” (“Tell It Like a Woman “).
Ruth E Carter: first black woman to win two Oscars
The Academy has officially congratulated Carter, now the first black woman in Oscar history to win two awards, the first for Best Costume Design for ‘Black Panther’ in 2019 and another tonight for ‘Black Panther’. : Wakanda Forever”.
“I got up out of my boots,” Carter said in the press room when asked to do Oscar history. “I wanted to be a costume designer. I studied, I scratched, I faced adversity in the industry that sometimes was not like me. And I endured. So, I feel that this victory opens up the door to other young costumers who may not think this industry is for them and I hope they see me and they see my story and they think they can win a Oscar.”
“The Elephant Whisperers”: first title produced in India to win
‘The Elephant Whisperers’, a short documentary about an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, became the first-ever Indian-produced film to win an Oscar according to Netflix, beating contenders such as ‘Haulout’, ‘How Do You Measure A Year “, “The Martha Mitchell Effect” and “Stranger At The Gate”.
Director Kartiki Gonsalves, who accepted the award, dedicated it to “my homeland, India”.
“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing our film, highlighting indigenous people and animals. To Netflix, for believing in the power of this film,” she says.
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