Happy oscars day here’s some history about asians at the academy awards:
No asian producers have ever won best picture (although six have been nominated)
Ben Kingsley is the only asian to ever be nominated for or win best actor
No asian woman has ever won best actress, and the only time an asian woman has ever been nominated (Merle Oberon in The Dark Angel) was almost a century ago
Out of seven nominated over the years, only one asian has ever won best supporting actor (Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields in 1984)
In 1957, Miyoshi Umeki became the first asian woman to win best supporting actress for her role in Sayonara. No asian woman has won since then, although four have been nominated.
Ang Lee was the first (and so far only) asian person to win best director, and he’s done it twice. Once in 2005 for Brokeback Mountain, and again in 2012 for Life of Pi.
No asian has ever won best adapted screenplay, and only two have ever been nominated (Wang Hui-ling and Tsai Kuo Jung for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000).
An asian has never won best original screenplay, but that could change tonight since Kumail Nanjiani is nominated (with Emily V. Gordon) for The Big Sick. He is also the only asian nominated in a major category at this year’s oscars.
I don’t have a profound note to end this on. All I can say is that the system is broken from the ground up. The problem isn’t really that asians aren’t being recognized for the work they do in western media. The problem is that asians generally aren’t being given the chance to do that work in the first place.
EDIT: A couple notes that I wasn’t gonna add cause I didn’t think anyone would keep reblogging this after the Oscars but here we are, so -
Obviously Kumail Nanjiani didn’t win. An Asian has still never won best original screenplay. Bummer (although I am extremely happy for Jordan Peele), but I know it’ll happen someday.
It has been brought to my attention that Merle Oberon may not have been Asian. If anything this just means that no Asian woman has ever been nominated for or won best actress, which is even worse.
OKAY HERE’S THE LOW DOWN ON BEN KINGSLEY: Yes he is British. He is also of Gujarati descent on his father’s side, making him part-Asian. You can be British and Asian at the same time. You can be American and Asian at the same time (like me!). When I say “Asian” in this post, I didn’t just mean “people who live in Asia”. I was referring to all people of Asian descent. I hope this clears things up for anyone who was confused.
Lastly, two Asians (that I know of) did win Oscars last night! One was Kazuhiro Tsuji, and he (along with David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick) won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for Darkest Hour. The other was Robert Lopez, who won Best Original Song (with Kristen Anderson-Lopez) for “Remember Me” from Coco.
“Ali Wong and Randall Park are set to star in a Netflix feature comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The two actors (and former Fresh Off the Boat colleagues) wrote the script with Michael Golamco. Currently untitled, the film follows two childhood friends who fall in love as adults - though they’ve ended up in vastly different socioeconomic situations.
Wong - who was previously a writer and story editor on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat sitcom, starring Park — was most recently seen on ABC’s American Housewife and in The Orchard’s indie film The Hero, starring Sam Elliott. She previously teamed with Netflix for her 2016 comedy special Ali Wong: Baby Cobra.”
If Marvel Studios can take the time to painstakingly find an unknown actor like Tom Holland to portray their very specific version of Peter Parker than they could afford to find a Jewish/Roma actress for Scarlet Witch and Asian actors for Dr. Strange and Iron Fist.
“I accepted the role unaware that the character in the original comics was of mixed Asian heritage.
It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to neglect this responsibility would continue a worrying tendency to obscure ethnic minority stories and voice in the Arts. I feel it is important to honour and respect that. There I have decided to step down so the role can be cast appropriately.”
Ed Skrein is not an A-list actor. Yes, he has more money than most of us, but he’s not sitting on piles of Scarlett Johansson cash or Tilda Swinton money. I’ll admit that I do tend to be less upset when a lesser-known white actor takes a role that wasn’t originally written for a POC because I’m an artist and I know a lot of artists and I see that life where you don’t really know when you’ll get your next callback or your next check. I’m still angry, but way less mad than when someone with tens of millions of dollars steps into a role that has been whitewashed for “box office” reasons.
By that same notion, I’m a lot more impressed when a lesser known actor does what’s right. When you’re not a household name, stepping into a widely known slice of pop culture is a big boost to your career, so good for Skrein sending this boost on toward an Asian actor it rightfully belongs to.
This is how you do it, White Hollywood. When you know better, you’re supposed to do better.
Suggestion: Instead of seeing Gh*st in the Sh*ll, watch the anime or animated films! Or even better! Go watch Power Rangers because it stars two up and coming Asian actors Naomi Scott and Ludi Lin who get way more screen time than any other Asian superheroes I’ve seen in any X-Men movie! And it’s super fun and nostalgic and a good time!