Sandra Oh: AAPI Heritage Month Actor Highlights

She's won four SAG Awards, been nominated for a dozen Emmys, and is a strong activist. We pay tribute to the truly incredible AAPI talent Sandra Oh.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Sandra-Oh-AAPI-Heritage-Month-Sideways-1

©Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

She's had a long and storied career in Hollywood on the big screen and small screen. The entertainer's also been a strong voice against Asian hate, speaking out at rallies across the country. We raise a toast to the amazingly talented AAPI icon Sandra Oh.

How You Know Her

For 10 seasons, the actress played the driven Dr. Cristina Yang on "Grey's Anatomy" (2005-2014). She became a household name through the role, and was nominated for a Supporting Actress Emmy five times in a row.

Currently, Oh stars as British agent Eve Polastri on the BBC series "Killing Eve" (2018-2021). For that part, she's been nominated for a Lead Actress Emmy the past three years.

In the current hit "Raya and the Last Dragon," Sandra Oh is the voice of Virana, chieftess of the Fang tribe.

She's also memorable in a supporting turn in Best Picture nominee "Sideways" from director Alexander Payne.

©Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

©Fox Searchlight. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

And as the lead in Canadian films "Double Happiness" and "Last Night," Sandra Oh won Genie Awards for Best Actress.

Her Life So Far

Oh became an American citizen in 2018. She grew up, though, in Ontario, Canada. She is the daughter of Korean immigrants, and took to the arts early on. As a youth, she studied ballet and performed in plays. She attended the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal. One of her first big roles after school was playing Chinese Canadian author Evelyn Lau in "The Diary of Evelyn Lau."

In the mid-'90s, Oh earned good notices as Rita Wu, the assistant to the president of a major sports agency in HBO's "Arli$$." She played the part for six seasons, and won a Cable ACE Award for Actress in a Comedy Series.

Besides constant work in features and tv over the past two decades and international stardom for "Grey's Anatomy" and "Killing Eve," Oh's also expanded her work into hosting. She's hosted both Canada's Genie Awards and the Golden Globes here in the US. She was the third woman of Asian descent to host SNL (after Lucy Liu and Awkwafina), and the first Asian-Canadian woman to do so. Also, she's the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress.

The Movie to See

We're recommending "Last Night," a Canadian production for which AAPI superstar Sandra Oh won the country's top Genie Award for Best Actress. The movie is an indie sci-fi about the last night on Earth, before an apocalyptic scenario will end things for all humanity. As citizens across Toronto, Ontario, scramble to do their last activities ever, Sandra Oh's character finds herself stranded. By the end of the film, she'll have a fateful meeting with a stranger. Around her, others will also have consequential encounters. But Oh, playing a character named Sandra, is especially moving. It's a gem of a film and worth discovering.

© Empire Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

© Empire Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

What's Up Next

Look for more of AAPI stars Sandra Oh and Steven Yeun in the critically acclaimed animated series "Invincible," and more Sandra Oh in "Killing Eve." Plus, the actress has a starring role in an upcoming horror film produced by Sam Raimi called "Umma."

Photo by: David Longendyke/Everett Collection

Photo by: David Longendyke/Everett Collection

About the Author

Chuck Walton

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

More from Chuck Walton

Advertisement