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The Talented Sandra Oh

December 28th, 2005 1:56pm EST
Sandra OhIf you loved Sandra Oh in Sideways then you must think she's a riot in Grey's Anatomy. She was recently nominated for both an Emmy and Golden Globe award for her portrayal of Dr. Cristina Yang in the Sunday night series that centers on a group of surgical interns who are struggling to balance their work and personal lives.

Oh, who is of Korean heritage, was born in Nepean, Ottawa, and began acting at the age of 10. Despite the disapproval of her traditional parents, she embarked on a professional acting career when she was barely out of her teens. After attending the National Theatre School of Canada in Montreal, Oh had her breakthrough in the 1993 CBC production of Runaway: The Diary of Evelyn Lau. Her portrayal of the title character, a 14-year-old runaway who endured hard times while living on the street, earned Oh a FIPA d'Or for Best Actress at Cannes.

On the big screen, Oh first earned raves and recognition for her portrayal of a Chinese-Canadian woman struggling with both the demands of her conservative parents and those placed on her by society in response to her ethnic identity. Her thoughtful, funny performance earned Oh her first Genie Award (Canada's equivalent of the Oscar), but unfortunately, further work was not immediately forthcoming. Things began to look up when Oh was cast on the popular CBC series Arli$ in 1996, and in a bit part in the hit comedy Bean (1997).

Oh found greater success as one of the stars of Don McKellar's Last Night (1998), a comedy-drama about the end of the world that cast the actress as a woman trying to get across town in time to make good on a suicide pact she has with her husband (David Cronenberg). An internationally praised film that enjoyed a particularly strong reception at the Toronto and Cannes Festivals, it received a number of awards, including a second Genie for Oh. The following year, Oh took part in another critical hit with Audrey Wells' Guinevere, in which she appeared alongside fellow Canadian Sarah Polley as one of a number of young women taken under the wing of a dubious mentor (Stephen Rea).

Oh ushered in the new millenium with a role in the largely-improvised ensemble film Dancing at the Blue Iguana. The film saw Oh playing an exotic dancer who aspires to be a poet. The ensuing years saw the actress primarily take on a variety of small character roles in such films as Big Fat Liar and Under the Tuscan Sun, but in 2004 she garnered a number of positive responses for her performance in husband Alexander Payne's dramedy Sideways.

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Sandra Oh on Starpulse


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