Oscars 2023: Inside the Press Room with the History-Making Winners | Festivals & Awards

“We have a lot of words, lot of expressions, a lot of feeling in our language, very great language and very literary language,” explained Chandrabose. “If you write Telugu words, it sounds like music.” The musicians added a historic second win for Indian talent after Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga’s “The Elephant Whisperers” won for Documentary Short Subject. It’s the first time Indian productions took home Oscars in these categories. 

Credit: Michael Yada

Of the five first-time nominees for Actor in Lead Role, Brendan Fraser emerged as the chosen winner for his portrayal in Darren Aronofsky’s divisive drama “The Whale.” Still visibly affected after an emotional speech, the actor spoke softly in the interview room as he tried to articulate his feelings on the redemption arc the film gifted him. 

“This has been incredibly rewarding and affirming, and it’s given me a lesson in humility and gratitude … I hope that I live up to this,” Fraser said. 

Asked about his thoughts on the Academy recognizing his portrayal of a gay character, the actor responded: “Charlie is so much more than just a gay man. He’s a father, he’s an educator, he’s a truth seeker, and that he fell hopelessly, inconveniently in love with whomever is immaterial.” 

Credit: Michael Yada

Walking into a standing ovation, Michelle Yeoh, who made history as the first Asian woman and only the second woman of color to win the Oscar for Actress in Lead Role, impassionedly thanked the Academy for supporting “true representation” and elaborated on the ripples that she hopes this achievement will have for others. 

“This is something that we have been working so hard towards for a very long time, and tonight we freaking broke that glass ceiling,” said Yeoh. “I Kung Fu’d it out and shattered it, and we need this because there are so many who felt unseen, unheard.” 

After saying a few words in Mandarin for a Chinese outlet, Yeoh joked that although her Cantonese is not very good, most people in the press room wouldn’t notice the difference. 

Expanding on her on-stage remarks about mothers in general, specifically about her mother watching from Malaysia, the actress said: “Mothers are very important to all of us because, without them, none of us would be sitting in this room to start off with. The most important thing is my mother has always instilled in me confidence, taught me about love. Taught me about kindness and compassion. I’m not very, very good at that at times.” 

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