In a year marked by brutal violence against Asian Americans, Americans quickly represented Asia at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. Chinese-American director Chloe Zhao became the first Asian-American woman to win the Best Director award for her spooky road travel movie Nomadland. The independent drama about working-class widows in front of a van in Zhao won major awards for best film and actor with Francis McDormand in the lead role.
This is the second year in a row that the Asian film director will lead the Oscars. Last year, South Korean director Bong Jun-ho won Best Director and Best Picture for Korean satire parasite.
Hollywood has a remarkable history of treating Asian Americans. Consider Long Duke Dong, a fictional character who appeared in Sixteen Candles in 1984. The character played by Japanese-American actor Gade Watanabe in the movie John Hughes has been dubbed the aggressive stereotype of Asians.
Chinese-American actor Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to star in a movie in 1971 to gain acceptance in the United States because he was unable to find a job in the United States after graduating from the Ang Lee Film School in the United States. Until a full-time housewife praised Pushing Hands and The Wedding Banquet for Chinese movies six years before returning to Taiwan. Lee won Oscars for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2001, Brockback Mountain at 200, and Life of Pi in 2013.
Chinese-American actor Michael To says things are really turning around for Asian Americans working in the film industry. Zhao’s victory is an industrial blow that could be decisive.
The New York and Boston-based actor, who starred as an apothecary for Best Sound and Best Film Editing in this year’s Oscar-winning The Sound of Metal, said the film will inspire the next generation of Asian American filmmakers. I hope more Asian American actors will be featured in his future films.
Until recently, Asian representation in movie roles was very low and included. The two people who say they are in their forties grew up in Brooklyn, Massachusetts when they were basically white. He drifted away from racist slogans and fought for his racial identity.
He remembered that I was embarrassed to be Asian and wanted to be white.
His experiences with racism forced him to become an actor and make films on social justice issues.
“You can open the door for others if you can sit at the table,” To said.
Lisa Son, 47, who lives in Short Hills, New Jersey, a psychology professor at Bernard College in Manhattan, remembers growing up in New Jersey with very few Asian role models.
Growing up in Chatham, New Jersey, Lisa’s son currently lives in the Short Hills area of New Jersey and speaks against hate crimes against Asian women.
When I was younger, there were very few Asians on the screen. “I think that’s why I started watching and enjoying Korean dramas in high school,” the son said.
The son liked Korean dramas but was interested in his performance.
He told me I live in Korea, where I live with people like me.
One of the sons of his youth was the memory of the Asian character Long Duck Dong of Six Candles.
It was embarrassing. “I don’t even like to talk about it,” my son said. I guess that would embarrass a guy like my brother – worse than any Asian guy. It was so embarrassing, it was an Asian male stereotype. And that upset me because I wanted to love the movie too – everyone liked it, it’s a classic John Hughes movie. I may not be “American” if I don’t see and love him.
His son was the first Asian American to join the Zack Luck Club in 1993 with the story of his mother and daughter, who were originally an Asian American actor. 25 years later, in 2018, another big American movie with an Asian cast is not released. Toe said Crazy Rich Asians’ box office success changed everything in the movie world for Asian Americans.
Toe remembers that the door that was closed for Asians suddenly opened as he began to cast more actors as an Asian man.
“I’ve seen so many roles open up for me,” Toe said.
In addition to Zhao’s liking at this year’s Oscars, Yuh-Jung won the Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Grandma in the Korean-language movie Minari, the story of a Korean-American family moving to the Arkansas farm. Eun is the first Korean to win an Oscar for her acting.
For a very long time, Asians were not allowed into the Hollywood elite. Although the industry is now well aware of the need for different voices, it warns that it may change at any time depending on trends.
She said that it doesn’t make much sense here.