It’s possible that Michelle Yeoh, Star Trek: Discovery’s Philippa Georgiou, is the most awarded “Star Trek” actress in the franchise’s 55-year history. In August 2022 it was announced that she would be conferred with a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the American Film Institute and now it looks like the groundbreaking “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star will be bringing home not just one, but two awards, as well.
Excellence In Film
Shortly after the news broke that Yeoh would be receiving a Doctorate, it was announced that she was in line for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s (SBIFF) 15th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, benefitting the festival’s year-round educational programs.
The award’s namesake, Kirk Douglas, died in February 2020 at the ripe old age of 103, but his son, actor/producer Michael Douglas, commented on the announcement. “A well-deserved honor for the legendary and multi-talented Michelle Yeoh,” he said. “She has been entertaining and thrilling us in films since the 1980s …… AND she does her own stunts!! Bravo Michelle!”
Yeoh will receive the award at a black-tie ceremony on Friday, December 9, 2020, at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara in anticipation of the festival, which will run from February 8-18, 2023.
But before Yeoh accepts an award in California, she’ll be collecting one in Canada. Since its founding in 1976, the Toronto International Film Festival has given out various awards, such as People’s Choice and Best Film awards, plus the Platform Prize, a juried award that honors film directors. This year TIFF is adding a new honor to its roster: the “Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award.”
TIFF’s Share Her Journey was created in 2017 with the intention of “addressing gender parity and championing women in front of and behind the camera,” according to its website. “Michelle Yeoh is the definition of groundbreaking,” commented Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO since 2021. “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. We’re so proud to honor her with the Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award.”
The award is sponsored by TIFF’s official jewelry partner, BVLGARI. “BVLGARI has a long history of championing women, in front of and behind the camera, in the cinematic arts, BVLGARI Group CEO Christophe Babin proclaimed. “Supporting this TIFF Tribute Award is a continuation of this legacy of cultivating future talent and their groundbreaking work that enriches the world we live in. We are thrilled to play such an integral role in the future of women in cinema.”
The inaugural Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award will be presented to Yeoh at a gala fundraiser on Sunday, September 11 at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel, during the 47th annual Toronto International Film Festival.
With all these SBIFFs and TIFFs, you might think Michelle Yeoh was starring in the 1966 comedy series “Batman,” but while she is too young to have kicked ass in that series, she has fought and won in many other films and television shows since 1983. In fact, many of those performances have garnered her awards, starting in 2001, when the Sultan of her home state of Perak, Malaysia honored her with the Darajah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak in recognition of the fame she brought to the state.
Since then, she’s received Cultural Achievement awards, been made a Knight of the Legion of Honour by French President Jacques Chirac, accepted an Excellence in Asian Cinema award, and was included in the BBC’s 100 Women list of 2020 and Time Magazine’s 2022 list of the 100 most influential people of the world.
“Star Trek” fans know Michelle Yeoh as Captain-Empress Philippa Georgiou from “Star Trek: Discovery.” Other film buffs may know her as Yu Shu Lien from the film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or Chinese agent Wai Lin, co-starring with Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 James Bond installment “Tomorrow Never Dies” or laundromat owner-turned-hero Evelyn Quan Wang in “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” But regardless of which of her appearances you enjoy the most, she is known the world over as an icon and a groundbreaker. The SBIFF and TIFF may be the latest honors she receives, but they certainly won’t be the last.