Sandra Oh's acting career stemmed from her many interests as a student. She began dancing ballet at an early age, and was later president of her high school's student council. However, she decided to focus on acting when she realized she's not good enough to be a professional dancer. She turned down a journalism scholarship to attend the National Theatre School of Canada, appearing in several TV movies and stage productions.
Oh's career took off in 1994, when she won acclaim for her performance in the film Double Happiness. She won her second Genie Award five years later, in the film Last Night. Her performance in the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun also received positive reviews. Perhaps her best-known film role, however, was in the 2004 indie flick Sideways, which was a critical hit and earned her numerous awards.
On television, Oh first took notice in the HBO comedy Arli$$. However, she is best known for her role on ABC's medical drama Grey's Anatomy. Her portrayal of surgical intern Cristina Yang earned her several Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe win.
Oh was previously married to film director Alexander Payne, but the two divorced in 2006.
- In the late 90s, she was a member of a National Champion Canadian Improv Team at The Canadian Improv Games.
- When asked who her favorite rock-star is, she answered Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne because he looks enough like her (former) husband, Alexander Payne, for her to pretend her fantasy about being married to a rock star.
- She loves Spain and especially the city of Barcelona.
- She speaks fluent Korean, English, French, and Spanish.
- Genie Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, 1994 (for Double Happiness)
- CableACE Award, Best Actress in a Comedy Series, 1997 (for Arli$$)
- Vancouver International Film Festival, Women in Film Award, 1998 (for Last Night)
- Genie Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, 1999 (for Last Night)
- Milan International Film Festival, Best Acting, 2001 (for Dancing at the Blue Iguana)
- Boston Society of Film Critics Award, Best Ensemble Cast, 2004 (for Sideways)
- Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, Best Ensemble Acting, 2004 (for Sideways)
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, 2005 (for Sideways)
- Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, Best Acting Ensemble, 2005 (for Sideways)
- Golden Globe Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, 2006 (for Grey's Anatomy)
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, 2006 (for Grey's Anatomy)
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, 2007 (for Grey's Anatomy)
- The Journey Home (1989)
- Double Happiness (1994)
- Prey (1995)
- Cowgirl (1996)
- Bean (1997)
- The Fireman (1997)
- Last Night (1998)
- Le violon rouge (1998)
- Permanent Midnight (1998)
- Guinevere (1999)
- Three Lives of Kate (2000)
- Waking the Dead (2000)
- Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)
- Date Squad (2001)
- The Princess Diaries (2001)
- Big Fat Liar (2002)
- Barrier Device (2002)
- Full Frontal (2002)
- Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity (2002)
- Rick (2003)
- Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
- Sideways (2004)
- Wilby Wonderful (2004)
- 8 Minutes to Love (2004)
- Hard Candy (2005)
- Break A Leg (2005)
- Cake (2005)
- 3 Needles (2005)
- Sorry, Haters (2005)
- Kind of a Blur (2005)
- The Night Listener (2006)
- For Your Consideration (2006)
- Falling (2007)
- Defendor (2009)
- Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey (voice, 2010)
- Ramona and Beezus (2010)
- Rabbit Hole (2010)
- Thorne: Scaredy Cat (2010)
- Arli$$ (regular, 1996-2002)
- Judging Amy (recurring, 2001)
- Grey's Anatomy (regular, 2005-present)
"You just don't care about what people think. But it's hard to do because people tell you what they think all the time. It's sort of nuts. We actors, we're a fragile bunch, and yet we need to be strong because 90% of our lives is rejection. You have to figure out what really is important."
"And on a Canadian set, everybody is equal. You get paid the same. You live together in barracks. You have a communal kitchen. You buy and cook your own food."
On the importance of stage experience for actors in film and television: "Essential, essential, essential, essential. You gotta do plays, you gotta do play, you gotta do plays. Theatre will constantly and always feed me."