Michelle Yeoh has become the darling of Hollywood awards season, earning a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” She’s also nominated for a best actress Academy Award and says her mother has given her advice — as only a mother can — when it comes to prepping for the big night.
“My mom and I have a very interesting, beautiful relationship,” she told Willie Geist in TODAY’s Sunday Sitdown that will air March 5.
“She just called me the other day. ‘If you’re going to the Oscars, you must not wear pants,” Yeoh added, laughing.
“She was like, ‘And don’t do this’ and ‘Don’t do that’ and ‘You should keep your hair’ and...” the actor elaborated on her mom's advice.
Yeoh said her mother had a bunch of tips to share, but she found a way to have a little fun with her suggestions.
“I was so naughty. I left her a message,” she continued.
“‘Oh, Mom, no, we tailor made the tuxedo for me. So I’m wearing pants to the Oscars,’” she said, before adding that her mom responded with a “really long message.”
“‘You can tell them that you changed your mind,’” Yeoh said, recalling her mother's hilarious response. “‘When you wear pants you look short.’”
Yeoh says her mom sometimes forgets that her daughter is an adult.
“And sometimes I have to remind (her). I said, ‘Mom, do you know how old I am?’” she said. “You know, when I go home, she’ll say, ‘Your hair is so long. You look a little too tan. You’re this. You’re that.’ I’m like, ‘OK, nice to see you too, Mom.’”
Yeoh says her mother avoided a traditional congratulations when it came to earning the Oscar nomination.
“She didn’t say congratulations in that way,” she said. “She’d just say like, ‘Everybody is very happy for you.’”
Despite her muted joy, Yeoh says she’s aware her mother is pleased for her daughter.
“She is very happy. I know she’s very, very happy,” she said.
Yeoh says “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has played a role in mending relationships among people who’ve seen it.
“And through this whole process, if you feel like our film has helped to heal and started conversations and help people step back and not be so judgmental and think, ‘Actually you do see, you just didn’t know how to tell me,’ but now I perhaps understand that when you say you’re getting fat, you’re trying to motivate me to be better, be healthier,” she said.
“So, it is in so many ways. I’ve had mothers that come up and say ‘Yeah, your film, you’re pretty good. Your film is a bit -- not quite sure I understand. It’s OK because my daughter saw it and she’s talking to me again.’ So that was very powerful.”