Sandra Oh went from America's favorite snarky doctor to beloved MI6 agent, and we truly don't deserve her
Oh's roles are unique, but her portrayals, the most relatable thing ever. She won hearts as the iconic Christina Yang, and her recent Eve Polastri is in the same league
Anybody who has been a fan of 'Grey's Anatomy' knows the iconic character of Cristina Yang. And for that, we have Sandra Oh to thank. While 'Grey's Anatomy' would not really be 'Grey's Anatomy' without the sassy, witty, sarcasm driven talented doctor Yang, Hollywood wouldn't be Hollywood either if we didn't have Oh where she is - doing what she does - helping inspire millions of women of color that no dream is too big if the talent is pure and raw.
Extremely polite, perfectly courteous, and impeccably hilarious - Oh is never out of these character traits at any given moment of the day. But what she also happens to be, is deeply passionate about her art and about being a representative of fellow womenfolk in the field of art where she is constantly innovating with iconic roles and flawless deliveries.
In an interview with The Guardian, Oh spoke vividly about her reaction upon seeing a film on Chinese immigrants for the first time at a theatre. The year was 1993, and the young Canadian-Korean actor had been left “shuddering, weeping … weeping more than really the film deserved”, upon watching a Wayne Wang film about four Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters, called 'The Joy Luck Club.'
Funny how years down the line, be it as the unflinching Cristina Yang on Grey' Anatomy, or the clueless but driven MI6 agent Eve Polastri on 'Killing Eve', Oh goes around making innumerable people feel the same 'shuddering' sensation, every time they come across a performance of hers.
Probably why the 47-year-old actress became the first Asian actress to be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2018, for her portrayal of Eve. Not only that, but Oh also won the award that year, and became the first Asian woman to win two Golden Globes.
Oh's initiation into the industry was primarily through Canadian cinema, which makes sense because she was born in the Ottawa suburb of Nepean to middle-class Korean immigrant parents. But her career definitely didn't stay restricted to that country, as recognition began flowing her way soon after she made it big with brilliant performances in her early work.
Regardless of whether a lot of people still remember or not, Oh stood apart in her role of Vice Principal Gupta in the American film 'The Princess Diaries,' before she made it big as Cristina Yang in 'Grey's Anatomy.'
And that is just further proof of the charm of her performances, because it doesn't matter if she is playing a teeny tiny role, or the lead actor's best friend - there's no overlooking her screen presence.
Which she again proved last year, as she embraced the role of the titular Eve, in the BBC America suspense thriller, 'Killing Eve.' Starring opposite Jodie Comer, Oh plays the role of a clumsy, fumbling agent who has been tasked to hunt down a serial assassin, Villanelle (Comer.)
Sounds like a classic role Oh would play, but at the same time, nobody else could fit into the role as effortlessly as Oh did. Be it the curious emotions Eve feels for her target or the inherent darkness that the character sometimes craves to embrace - Oh's Eve is full of surprises but warm at the same time.
In that, the more you think you've figured out Eve, the more confusing she gets, and even though there's no understanding her obsession with her target, you can't help but root for her.
Such is the charm of Oh, and it's only been wholesome to witness the recognition she has been showered with, in the recent past. With the release of the debut season of 'Killing Eve', Oh went from being America's favorite resident doctor to becoming UK's favorite secret agent overnight and almost like a breath of fresh air, her fans were reminded just how much we had missed her crisp, but vivacious portrayals on screen.
Establishing her dominance as a serious actor on screen once again, Oh rebranded herself as an actor from the 2000s, who could still win over millennial hearts with new age scripts, purely through the striking confidence she brings to the screen.
In her art, Oh is not only crisp and accurate but also a compassionate artist, who not only understands her roles but the one she's acting opposite too. Her understanding of Comer's character Villanelle, as she spilled in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide, only makes us love her more, as she believes 'Killing Eve' is not just a love story between two people, but about love for one's own self too.
"I feel like it's a love story for themselves, in a way that they don't even know," Oh told MEAWW at the premiere of 'Killing Eve' season 2.
"It's up to each of them to discover on her own," she adds in a tone which is a striking contrast to her effortlessly hilarious opening monologue on NBC's 'Saturday Night Live.'
But that again is the beauty of Sandra Oh. She is funny without being rude, and unabashed without stepping out of line. Be it as an award show host, or as a confused woman trying to figure out the weird sexually charged intrigue she feels for a cold-blooded murderer - Oh's roles are unique, but her portrayals, the most relatable thing to witness ever.
Take a bow, Miss Oh. We truly don't deserve you.