Michelle Yeoh to Be Honored with Doctorate of Fine Arts

Michelle Yeoh

Getty Michelle Yeoh and Jason Isaacs at a BAFTA event in 2019.

Michelle Yeoh will be conferred with a Doctorate of Fine Arts by the American Film Institute “for contributions of distinction to the art of the moving image,” the Hollywood Reporter revealed in a story on August 5. 2022. The Chinese-Malaysian actress has led a long and successful international career, but has been on a particularly notable roll over the past several years with film and television projects including “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Paws of Fury,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” and especially the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” the last of which has been generating Oscar buzz for several months.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Yeoh will be presented with her Doctorate of Fine Arts on Saturday, August 13, 2022, during the AFI Conservatory’s commencement ceremony celebrating the Class of 2022. The ceremony, the entertainment trade paper noted, will be at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. “Michelle Yeoh and (fellow honoree) Lawrence Herbert have inspired the world with their remarkable talents,” Bob Gazzale, president and CEO of the American Film Institute, told the Hollywood Reporter. “Though both of these trailblazers have proven impact in vastly different ways, it is their shared dedication to the art of the moving image that provides this proud moment for AFI to shine a proper light upon their gifts given us.”

Yeoh Receiving a Doctorate of Fine Arts for “Contributions of Distinction to the Art of the Moving Image”

Prior recipients of American Film Institute honorary degrees, according to the Hollywood Reporter, have included such entertainment luminaries as Robert Altman, Maya Angelou, Saul Bass, Angela Bassett, Kathryn Bigelow, Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Anne V. Coates, Clint Eastwood, Roger Ebert, Nora Ephron, Jodie Foster, Lesli Linka Glatter, James Earl Jones, Lawrence Kasdan, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Spike Lee, David Lynch, Helen Mirren, Rita Moreno, Paul Schrader, Quentin Tarantino, Lily Tomlin, Robert Towne, Cicely Tyson, Haskell Wexler, and John Williams.

The Internet Movie Database lists 68 credits for Yeoh dating back to “The Owl vs. Bumbo” in 1984. Among her other major films and television shows are “Supercop,” “Wonder Seven,” the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Sunshine,” “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Strike Back,” “Marco Polo,” and “Last Christmas.” And, according to the Internet Movie Database, Yeoh’s upcoming projects include “The School for Good and Evil,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” and several additional “Avatar” sequels, “American Born Chinese,” “The Brothers Sun,” and “The Tiger’s Apprentice.”

“Star Trek” fans are also still waiting for news about the proposed “Section 31” series in which Yeoh would reprise her role as Philippa Georgiou from “Star Trek: Discovery.” The spin-off has been a topic of conversation dating back to 2018. On January 14, 2019, the official “Star Trek” site, StarTrek.com, ran a story with a headline that read, “Yeoh to Lead New Star Trek Series.” The story noted that the show would “build upon Yeoh’s current ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ role as a member of Starfleet’s Section 31 division, a black-ops shadow organization within the Federation.”

Yeoh’s Many Upcoming Projects Include ‘Avatar 3’

That same story on the official site included comments from Alex Kurtzman, who heads up the television end of the “Star Trek” franchise, and also from Yeoh. “Michelle has shattered ceilings, broken boundaries, and astonished us with her grace and gravitas for decades,” Kurtzman said in a statement. “As a human, I adore her. As an actor, I revere her. (Co-executive producers) Erika (Lippoldt) and Boey (Yeon Kim) are remarkable, exciting writers who bring a fresh perspective to the world of ‘Star Trek,’ and we’re all thrilled to explore the next wild chapter in the life of Captain Philippa Georgiou.”

Yeoh, in her statement, said, “I’m so excited to continue telling these rich ‘Star Trek’ stories. Being a part of this universe and this character specifically has been such a joy for me to play. I can’t wait to see where it all goes – certainly I believe it will go ‘where no WOMAN has ever gone before!'”

More than three years later, “Section 31” is apparently still on Yeoh’s radar despite her busy schedule. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly that ran on April 12, 2022, the actress, who turned 60 on August 6, 2022, said, “‘Section 31’ is that [“Star Trek”] universe but different. It’s like ‘Mission: Impossible’ meets ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in space.”