Ecstatic for her “Crazy Rich Asians” family and for Sandra Oh, the first Asian host to grace the Golden Globes stage (“Go, Sandra!”), Michelle Yeoh jumped on the phone from the Toronto set of “Star Trek: Discovery” to wax ecstatic over the groundbreaking film’s two nominations.
Looking forward to celebrating the landmark “Crazy Rich Asians” year on Globes night with the cast and crew, she plans on sporting a special piece of jewelry perfect for the glitzy occasion: Eleanor’s bespoke emerald and diamond ring.
“I think I have to,” Yeoh exclaimed, “because the ring is so much a character in the film. What a perfect thing! I must. I will absolutely do that.”
It’s the engagement ring that symbolizes Eleanor’s pride — and her acceptance of her son’s American born girlfriend — in a pivotal moment in the film, adapted from Kevin Kwan’s novel of the same name.
As “Crazy Rich Asians” lore has it, Yeoh had lent director Jon M. Chu’s production a selection from her personal collection when the original prop ring wasn’t quite working, Chu first revealed to Vulture.
Now, “the ring is infamous! All the guys out there, this is the kind of ring that you want to get your girl to say ‘Yes’ to you,” laughed Yeoh, confirming that she bought it as a gift — for herself. “I did. I don’t wait for people to send me flowers. If I want them, I’m going to send them to myself.”
The Malaysian-born Yeoh — who has seen the film “only four times” — championed “Crazy Rich Asians” as a win for representation and inclusion in Hollywood that has been an “empowering” experience to be a part of.
Her favorite moments to watch? “All that food!” she said with a laugh. “And the quiet moments I have with Henry … especially when he takes off his shirt. What’s not to love about that scene?”
Of co-star Constance Wu, who earned a lead actress Golden Globes nomination for her turn as Asian American heroine Rachel Chu, she had high praise, pointing to the mahjong scene in which their characters face off over the clicking of fast-moving tiles.
“You’re only as good as your sparring partner,” Yeoh said. “I think Jon was so brilliant in executing and choreographing that whole scene when there was so much going on. That was the most intense scene. For Constance, the lines she had were very powerful dialogue she had to deliver, and those lines meant so much to her.”
Three decades into a global acting career in Asia and stateside, Yeoh is optimistic that recognition for “Crazy Rich Asians” signifies greater opportunities for Asian talent.
“I hope this is the beginning of a new renaissance opening up the field for all Asians to be part of,” Yeoh said. “Make more space for us, and include us — because we are a part of your society. I would have loved to see more nominations for (Asians) in front of and behind the camera, because we are there; recognize us.”