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Michelle Yeoh has taken home best lead performance, the top acting honor, at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards, continuing the full-on sweep of the ceremony for A24’s Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Accepting the award, Yeoh thanked A24 and then her directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, saying “Thank you for writing such an incredible script, that gave us the opportunity to be here. To be seen, to be heard.”
She continued: “I want to dedicate this to all our mothers. Without our mothers, none of us would be here. And to all the ladies [who] are sitting at that table who support their husbands,” she said, of the Everything Everywhere All at Once cast and crew. “Thank you all for believing in us, and giving us a seat at the table and [thank you to] all the little girls, boys, who look like us and think that it is possible.”
Yeoh won over fellow nominees Dale Dickey, for A Love Song; Mia Goth, for Pearl; Regina Hall, in Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.; Paul Mescal in Aftersun; Aubrey Plaza in Emily the Criminal; Jeremy Pope in The Inspection; Taylor Russell for Bones and All; Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie; and Cate Blanchett in Tár.
EEAAO was also nominated at the 2023 Spirit Awards in screenplay, editing, supporting performance for Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis, directing, breakout performance, and picture, winning seven awards overall, in every category in which the film was nominated.
This is the first Indie Spirit nomination for Yeoh, who won over top rival Blanchett last week at the SAG awards and could soon make history as the first Asian woman to ever win best actress at the Oscars.
This year marks the first time the Indie Spirits have combined their acting categories to be gender-neutral, opting to hand out one lead and one supporting award instead of separate awards for male and female performers.
Last year’s winners for actor and actress were Red Rocket’s Simon Rex and Zola’s Taylour Paige, both non-Oscar-nominated performances in films the Academy completely shut out. However, there is some precedent for overlap between the two awards bodies: 2020’s winner, Sound of Metal’s Riz Ahmed, did receive an Oscar nom, though Casey Affleck in 2016 marked the last time that both shows shared the same best actor winner. On the actress side, Carey Mulligan won the Indie Spirit and was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, and the prior year Renée Zellweger swept both ceremonies for her performance in Judy as Judy Garland.
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