Oscar nominations are finally here, and Asian actors are finally getting the recognition they deserve
Asian representation has been lacking within Hollywood for years, with the exception of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) and Parasite (2019) which won Best Picture during last year's Academy Awards.
Award shows don't always have the best reputation for being diverse and inclusive. In fact, they're notorious for it. But over the years, there's been a slight growth in progress towards representation, starting with the Golden Globes in February, where three out of five filmmakers nominated for Best Director were women. Joining in ranks are the 93rd Academy Awards, in which nominations were revealed Monday morning.
During Monday's nominations, which were presented by Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences witnessed at least nine firsts regarding Asian representation. Considering the recent spike anti-Asian hate crimes, these nominations feel particularly notable.
First on the list of first is Lee Issac Chung's film Minari, which is the first Asian-American produced and directed film nominated for Best Picture. The film, with a majority Asian cast, centers around a Korean family navigating Arkansas during the 1980s, while in pursuit of the American Dream.
In addition, The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun is nominated for Best Actor in the film, and if he wins, will be the first actor of Asian descent to win since Ben Kingsley's portrayal as Ghandi in 1982. To sprinkle more representation into the pot, 73-year-old South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Minari. She is the fourth woman of Asian descent to be nominated since Miyoshi Umeki won the award in 1957.
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In regards to Best Director, Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell nominations have upped the anti in regards to female inclusivity. This is the first time two female filmmakers have simultaneously been nominated for Best Director. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are. Zhao, who made history during the Golden Globes with her film Nomadland, is the first woman of color to receive the nomination.
Again, I'm just as shocked as you are.
Asian representation has been lacking within Hollywood for years, with the exception of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) and Parasite (2019), which won Best Picture during last year's Academy Awards. Furthermore, Viola Davis scored a nomination for her portrayal as blues singer Ma Rainey in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Davis is now the most-nominated Black actress in Oscar history.
Hopefully this year's nominees will be a continuing trend within Hollywood, and pave the way for more talented individuals of color to take the lead. We live in a diverse universe, and the stories and characters portrayed on screen should represent that. The Oscars will air on Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 8 p.m. EST.
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