Michelle Yeoh to Receive Top Honor at Asian Film Awards

Michelle Yeoh - Portraits - 67th Venice Film Festival - 2010
Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Past winners of the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award include Chinese director Zhang Yimou and Busan International Film Festival founder Kim Dong-ho.

Hong Kong-Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh will receive the Excellence in Asian Cinema Award at this year’s Asian Film Awards ceremony, the event's organizers announced Thursday.

The prize is AFA’s top honor for film professionals, intended to “recognize and highlight outstanding talent and affirm their lifelong achievements and contributions to the Asian film industry,” the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society said in a statement.

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Past winners include Chinese director Zhang Yimou and Kim Dong-ho, founding director of the Busan International Film Festival.

Yeoh has made nearly 40 films over the course of her three-decade long career. She got her start in Hong Kong action cinema, but is most widely known for her roles in Tomorrow Never Dies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Luc Bresson’s The Lady, in which she played Burmese political leader and human rights activist Aung San Suu Kyi.

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Yeoh said she was “delighted” to be receiving the award, adding: “It’s my goal to continue as an advocate of the Asian film industry and to promote a positive, strong image for Asian women in international films.”

The Asian Film Awards will take place on the evening of March 18 in Hong Kong, co-timed with the kick-off of the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

“Michelle has excelled as both an action star and a serious actress -- a very rare combination in this business, and practically unique," said Roger Garcia, executive director of HKIFFS. "She is the perfect choice to be awarded with this prestigious honor."