Michelle Yeoh was pressured to retire from acting before her deserved Oscar nomination

Photo of Actor Michelle Yeoh posing for the cameras at the Critics Choice Awards ceremony

Michelle Yeoh, who was recently nominated for the best actress Academy Award for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, has shared that she was pressured to retire before she was offered the part.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, the 60-year-old explained how opportunities dry up for older actresses, as well as how she was told to stop working years before her portrayal of Eveleyn Quan Wang in the multiversal movie.

“You know, as you get older, the roles get smaller,” Yeoh told the publication. “It seems like the numbers go up and these things go narrow and then you start getting relegated to the side more and more.”

Michelle Yeoh continued: “As you get older, people start saying, ‘Oh yeah, you should retire. You should do this. You should –’ No, guys. Do not tell me what to do. I should be in control of what I am capable of, right?”

She also spoke on EEAAO being even more of an emotional process, because of the age of the leading character.

“You are the one who’s leading this whole process, who’s telling the story. It’s about this ordinary woman who becomes a superhero. It’s about you being able to be funny, dramatic, martial arts, like, almost like a horror film. It was like five genres made into one.”

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Michelle Yeoh (L) and Stephanie Hsu (R) at Critics Choice Award. (Getty)
Michelle Yeoh (L) and co-star Stephanie Hsu at the Critics Choice Award. (Getty)

Michelle Yeoh expressed further gratitude at the trust bestowed in her to be able to tackle the character of Evelyn.

“Finally, thank you. You guys see me, you guys really see, and you’re giving me the opportunity to show that I’m capable of doing all this. As an actor, you need the opportunity. You need the role that will help you showcase what you are capable to do.”

Michelle Yeoh recently won a Golden Globe for her role in the film, which is also up for 11 Oscars, including best picture, best supporting actress for Stephanie Hsu and best supporting actor for Ke Huy Quan.

Central to the plot of the movie is a queer fight of acceptance, wrapped in the already strained relationship between a Chinese-American mother and daughter, with Joy (Hsu) desperately wanting her mother Eveleyn (Yeo) to accept her non-Chinese girlfriend Becky.