The Oscars 2023 has witnessed an extraordinary year of comebacks, with all four acting awards going to previously unnominated actors. This was a gratifying moment for Hollywood fans who have long rooted for these artists to receive the acknowledgement they deserve.
Brendan Fraser Wins Best Actor at Oscars 2023
Brendan Fraser, the star of The Mummy and George of the Jungle made a triumphant comeback by winning the Best Actor award at the Oscars for his role in The Whale after being away from the limelight for 12 years. The Whale’s heavy and emotional drama allowed Fraser to show his talents in a new light as he played an obese professor who tried to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
In his acceptance speech, he expressed his gratitude to director Darren Aronofsky for “throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale.” Fraser’s career was once booming but had slowed down due to multiple reasons.
His decision to perform his own stunts in the film eventually took its toll on his body. He has been long recovering from spinal surgery and partial knee replacement. Moreover, he also made a sexual assault allegation in 2018 against a leading Hollywood figure. This person was Philip Berk, the head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organizing body for the Golden Globes awards.
Despite some controversy surrounding The Whale’s use of a fat suit and Fraser’s casting as a gay character, his on-screen transformation and captivating performance won critical acclaim. In winning the Best Actor award, Fraser has shown that he has rediscovered his passion for acting and is now back in the game.
Michelle Yeoh Wins Best Actress
Michelle Yeoh made history at the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday night by becoming the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress award. The legendary Malaysian celebrity had been a staple in Hong Kong martial arts cinema for years before achieving global recognition in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and later in the wuxia blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Despite the latter being nominated for 10 Oscars and winning four in 2001, it wasn’t until Everything Everywhere All at Once that Yeoh was personally acknowledged by the Academy. Winning the Best Actress award felt like a foregone conclusion for Yeoh, who had already snagged a Golden Globe and the prestigious Screen Actors Guild award for her portrayal of a laundromat owner who becomes the world’s saviour.
The film also pays tribute to Yeoh’s life, with her character, Evelyn, jumping through parallel universes in a chaotic manner, embodying all the possibilities she could have lived, including that of a Hong Kong martial arts action star. In her acceptance speech, Yeoh urged women to never let anyone tell them they are past their prime, a message that resonates with her own life and career.
Ke Huy Quan Wins Best Supporting Actor Male
Ke Huy Quan, the child star of two of the biggest movies of the 1980s, had given up on acting when Hollywood abandoned him. After winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the anarchic sci-fi drama Everything Everywhere All At Once, he tearfully said, “They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This is the American dream.” He kissed his golden statuette, holding it aloft, overwhelmed with emotion, as he added, “My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage.”
Quan, a Vietnamese refugee who moved to the US, had to deal with being made fun of in school, adding to his trauma. After settling for working behind the scenes, he decided to have another go at pursuing his dream of acting nearing the age of 50, inspired by watching Crazy Rich Asians. It was not until the success of that movie that he decided to try to get back on the screen.
Quan received the script for Everything Everywhere All at Once, unsure how viewers would react to seeing a former child star as a middle-aged man. Winning an Oscar was a dream he never thought would find its way back, but with courage, he gave voice to that dream, and it paid off. Quan made history as the second Asian actor to win the Best Supporting Actor award.
Jamie Lee Curtis Wins Best Supporting Actress
Another member of the Best Picture winner, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Jamie Lee Curtis won the best supporting actress award at the Oscars 2023. She played the role of a tax auditor and assassin named Deirdre Beaubeirdre. It was a stark contrast to her previous roles in the horror genre. She had a successful career as a scream queen in movies that were popular but did not receive many awards.
During her acceptance speech, she thanked all the people who supported the genre movies she made over the years. She felt that her win was a win for all the people who enjoyed her movies. She was happy to finally receive recognition for her work.