In three words, Michelle Yeoh taught us about shamelessly protecting our time.

On a Golden Globes night full of iconic acceptance-speech moments – check out these sweet, fun, mildly meandering words from HBO’s “White Lotus” star Jennifer Coolidge, for example – actress Yeoh stood out all the same.

“Shut up, please,” she said simply – with a smile on her face – when the band attempted to play her off halfway through her address. The audience laughed and clapped along as she added: “I can beat you up. And that’s serious.”

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After winning Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her starring role in the dimension-bending drama “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” Yeoh reflected on her struggles as an Asian actress trying to succeed in Hollywood. “When I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream come true — until I got here,” she recalled. “I came here and was told, ‘You’re a minority.’”

Then, roughly halfway through her speech, the piano began to softly play. As noted, Yeoh wasn’t having it. 

After decades of hard work – starring in films like James Bond installment “Tomorrow Never Dies” and Oscar-winning action classic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – one could argue that the 60-year-old performer earned an extra few minutes to celebrate her first Golden Globes triumph. 

It’s also a surprising faux pas for an event hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, whose diversity problems have been so severe and well-documented that last year’s ceremony was called off in light of them.

Yeoh used the time she reclaimed, in part, to note the entertainment industry’s broader equity problems – by paying homage to “all the shoulders that I stand on, all who came before me, who look like me, and all who are going on this journey with me forward.”

She added, “Forty years… I’m not letting go of this.”

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