Sandra Oh has enraptured audiences for decades with her strong and passionate performances. Oh’s body of work is truly unmatched—from playing the iconic Cristina Yang on the medical primetime drama Grey’s Anatomy to the brilliant intelligence investigator Eve Polastri in the Emmy Award-winning series Killing Eve, and matriarchal roles in this year’s Turning Read and Umma. Transitioning from indie roles to large features, as well as taking on producer endeavours, our spring cover star has become a household name who sparks excitement from audiences when on screen. To celebrate our Spring cover star, we’ve put together a list of Oh’s most unforgettable roles in film and television to date.
Double Happiness (1994)
Double Happiness examines the struggles of main character Jade Li, as she tries to both please her traditional Chinese parents while finding her own identity in Western society. Oh’s character encapsulates what many children of immigrants experience while growing up in a vastly divergent society as they try to balance their heritage while molding a unique identity. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1994 and received multiple Genie Award nominations, including a Best Actress in a Leading Role win for Oh.
This cult-classic series from HBO comedically deconstructs the bustling world of professional sports management. In it, Oh plays Rita Wu, the personal assistant of Robert Wuhl’s Arliss Michaels, the president of a sports agency with an incapacity to say no to his clients and employees requests. The show has since been reintroduced into the streaming era with a debut on HBO Max in 2018, allowing for a more expansive audience to witness this bizarrely engrossing program.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Sandra Oh plays Patti in the film Under the Tuscan Sun, a film about a literature professor Frances (Diane Lane), who accepts Patti’s offer to embark on an Italian getaway as a result of discovering her husband’s adultery. Throughout the film, Patti’s ceaseless support of Frances proves that female friendship can be stronger than any romantic bond, as the two navigate this European destination with a renewed sense of self-worth.
This romantic dramedy released in 2004 and follows the wine tasting adventures of two friends, Jake and Miles. When exploring one of the vineyards, Jack—who is soon to be married—meets the enticing Stephanie (Oh), who he quickly pursues an affair with against his best interests. Oh’s involvement in this dual midlife crisis heightens the comedic value of this film, delivering a stand-out performance alongside co-stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, and Virginia Madsen.
In this Canadian/American co-production, Oh stars as Dr. Park, a psychiatrist to Arthur Poppington (Woody Harrelson), a regular man who adopts a vigilante persona known as “Defendor”. Throughout the film, Dr. Park works with Arthur to unpack his trauma, which is a significant impetus for his heroic escapades that always seem to land him in an unpleasant predicament that undermines his virtuous intentions.
Window Horses (2016)
A Canadian production that was funded through a successful Indiegogo campaign, Window Horses finds Oh stepping into the role of producer for the first time in her career. Co-starring Nancy Kwan and Elliot Page, this animated film follows a young poet of Persian and Chinese descent who travels to Iran to perform at a poetry festival in a tale that weaves together themes of artistic self-discovery with reconciliation and forgiveness.
Oh lends her voice to this coming-of-age animated series about a teenage boy named Mark, who learns to wield his nascent superhero powers while grappling with his father Nolan’s own superhuman strength. Serving as both a motherly figure and wife, Debbie tailspins into a state of depression aided by a reliance on alcohol, proving that even the most robust individuals have internalized demons to resolve.