Women’s History Month: A Spotlight on the Academy Awards

By Ava Lee-Green

The Academy Awards last Sunday showcased veterans of the industry, as well as first-time nominations. Between Everything Everywhere All at Once winning seven Oscars (including Best Picture), and Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian American to win Best Actress, the 95th Oscars was a momentous night for many. March also marks Women’s History Month – a time to highlight women’s contributions to society in history and emphasize the impact girls and women will continue to have in the future. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are some women who made history during the 2023 Academy Awards:

Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win Best Actress. Although Yeoh is best known for her roles in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Crazy Rich Asians (2018), and now Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022), this is her first Oscar nomination. She was presented with the award by Halle Berry, who was the first woman of color to win Best Actress 21 years ago. With this historic win, Michelle Yeoh has become the first Asian woman and just the second woman of color to win the Best Actress award. 

“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof to dream big and dreams do come true.” 

Michelle Yeoh

Ruth E. Carter became the first Black woman to win two Oscars. Carter has been nominated for four Best Costume Design Oscars during her career, including for Malcolm X (1992) and Amistad (1997). Carter won her first Oscar in 2019 for her costume designs in Marvel’s Black Panther (2018). By winning Best Costume Design that year, she became the first Black woman to win the award in that category. Four years later, she just made history again by becoming the first Black woman to win two Oscars. 

“I feel that this win opens the door for other young costume designers that may not think that this industry is for them and hopefully they’ll see me, and they’ll see my story and they’ll think they can win an Oscar, too.”

Ruth E. Carter

“The Elephant Whisperers” – First Indian-produced title to win an Oscar. This short documentary follows a couple in South India as they care for an orphaned elephant and has received critical acclaim in both the US and India. The film has been led by two female filmmakers: Director Kartiki Gonsalves and Executive Producer Guneet Monga. This win in the Best Documentary Short Film also marks India’s first Academy Award in any category.

“Tonight is historic as this is the first-ever Oscar for an Indian production. India’s Glory with 2 women.”

Guneet Monga via Instagram

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