Beloved Hong Kong film icon Michelle Yeoh, fresh off her starring role in one of the year’s best films in Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once, is about to receive yet another impressive accolade at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. There, she’ll be the first recipient of a new award, titled the TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award, designed to “recognize a woman who is a leader in the film industry and has made a positive impact for women throughout their career.” The award is sponsored by luxury fashion house Bulgari, and will be presented at a gala fundraiser on Sept. 11, 2022 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
“Michelle Yeoh is the definition of groundbreaking,” said TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey in a statement. “Her screen work has spanned continents, genres and decades. This year she delivered a performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once that shows her limitless abilities.”
Those are apt words, as “limitless abilities” is a major theme of the A24 film, which grossed more than $100 million at theaters en route to becoming A24’s biggest release to date. Yeoh is the heart and soul of the film as struggling laundromat operator Evelyn, who must tap into the skills and knowledge of her many parallel lives to confront a reality spanning but unexpectedly personal threat. Her performance was widely acclaimed, and has led to a slew of awards attention, including Yeoh becoming the first Asian artist to receive an American Film Institute honorary degree. She also appeared in this year’s Time 100 Most Influential People list.
In a career spanning four decades, Yeoh has left her mark as both an actress and producer, first busting onto the Hong Kong action film scene in the mid-1980s with films such as Yes, Madam serving as trailblazers for female performers being taken more seriously in action cinema. In the same vein, she went on to co-star alongside Jackie Chan in films like Police Story 3: Supercop, before breaking out in the U.S. with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the 1997 James Bond entry Tomorrow Never Dies. In the years that followed, she’s appeared in everything from Memoirs of Geisha and Shang-Chi to Crazy Rich Asians, while simultaneously holding down a lead role on Star Trek: Discovery.
At 60 years old, in fact, Yeoh may be more prolific, adored and in-demand right now, following Everything Everywhere All at Once than she’s ever been before in her long career. All in all, it makes for a very deserving award recipient.