Written by B87FM on March 13, 2023
With a plethora of newly nominated actors and movies, the 2023 Oscars marked a momentous night of firsts for many.
From Jamie Lee Curtis’ first nomination (and win) to pregnant Rihanna’s first Oscars performance, many will remember Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre for its many “firsts.” But even more so, some nominees and movies are breaking records in the 95-year-history of the awards show.
Who is making history with their win? Here’s a rundown of some of the ways tonight was a historic one to remember.
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Michelle Yeoh: First Asian actress to win
Industry veteran Yeoh, 60, who garnered national praise for her performance in the most-nominated film “Everything, Everywhere All At Once,” took home one of the biggest prizes of the night: best actress. She is the first Asian actress to win the award. The closest anyone has come to Yeoh’s achievement was back in 1936, when India-born actress Merle Oberon was nominated for her leading role in “The Dark Angel.” Given the tenor of the times, Oberon hid her mixed-race heritage. She lost that year to Bette Davis, who won for her role in “Dangerous.”
“This is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” Yeoh tearfully said during her acceptance speech, calling the moment “history in the making.” “This is proof to dream big, that dreams do come true.”
Guillermo del Toro: First to win best picture, best director and best animated feature
Mexican filmmaker Del Toro, 58, known for “The Shape of Water” and “Nightmare Alley,” witnessed a momentous night, winning three major accolades for his 2022 animated film “Pinocchio.”
“It’s great to have picture, director, and animation because they define what I have loved all my life since I was a kid,” del Toro said in the press room. “I want one for makeup effects one day. But it’s beautiful, and it will help us implement more movement in the community in Mexico and in Latin America to keep pushing for still motion, which is one of the most Democratic form of animation.”
‘Naatu Naatu’: First Indian film song to be nominated for —and win— an Oscar.
“Naatu Naatu,” the joyous tune that went viral on TikTok from the Indian musical movie “RRR,” won best original song on Sunday night, becoming the first song from an Indian film to bring home the prize. Other nominees included Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” (“Top Gun”), Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Sofia Carson’s “Applause” (“Tell It Like a Woman”).
Ruth E Carter: First Black woman to win two Oscars
The Academy formally congratulated Carter, now the first Black woman in Oscars history to win two awards— her first for best costume design for “Black Panther” in 2019 and another, tonight, for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
“I pulled myself up from my bootstraps,” Carter said in the press room when asked about making Oscar history. “I wanted to be a costume designer. I studied, I scraped I dealt with adversity in the industry that sometimes didn’t look like me. And I endured. So, 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 will see me, and they will see my story, and they will think that they can win an Oscar too.”
‘The Elephant Whisperers’: First Indian-produced title to win
“The Elephant Whisperers,” a documentary short film about an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, has become the first-ever Indian-produced film to win an Oscar according to Netflix, beating out contenders including “Haulout,” “How Do You Measure A Year,” “The Martha Mitchell Effect” and “Stranger At The Gate.”
Director Kartiki Gonsalves, who accepted the award, dedicated it to “my motherland, India.”
“Thank you to the Academy for recognizing our film, highlighting Indigenous people and animals. To Netflix, for believing in the power of this film,” she said.