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January 13, 2020 at 4:15 pm #1203282565
Forget Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen. The voters obviously didn’t connect with The Farewell, and as much as I adored the film, these things happen.
What’s more telling is when they absolutely LOVE a film, and still somehow find a way to overlook its entire cast. It’s happened every single time a film with a predominantly Asian cast manages to break through at the Oscars. Without exception.
The Last Emperor: 9 nominations, 9 wins (BP + BD wins); no actors nominated
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: 10 nominations, 4 wins (BP + BP noms); no actors nominated
Memoirs of a Geisha: 6 nominations, 3 wins; no actors nominated
Slumdog Millionaire: 10 nominations, 8 wins (BP + BD wins); no actors nominated
Parasite: 6 nominations (BP + BD noms); no actors nominated
For better or for worse, the Academy has given us a very small sample to analyze, with a grand total of five films making a serious wave in the 92 years of its history. Statistical significance aside, the pattern is undeniable.
Imagine an American-produced English-language biopic about a European monarch, so acclaimed that it goes 9 for 9 at the Oscars, somehow fails to get its central performer nominated.
Or a universally beloved feminist film featuring two of the most iconic female warriors of all time, breaking box office records left and right and securing 10 Oscar nominations all at once, without any of the performers recognized.
For whatever reason, conventional award season wisdom always collapses around Asian actors.
Asian actors are where the “blame Hollywood, not the Academy” argument falls apart. Even when easy opportunities come kicking and screaming, the door never opens for them, and no one even bats an eye.January 13, 2020 at 4:16 pm #1203282590
They could have nominated the Farewell actresses and/or Parasite actors and actresses. They might not like the Farewell much but they certainly like Parasite so Parasite actors/actresses could have been given a chance.January 13, 2020 at 4:20 pm #1203282598
Zhao loosing a spot to Kathy Bates was downright insulting.January 13, 2020 at 4:24 pm #1203282604
Add Michelle Yeoh being snubbed for Crazy Rich Asians to the list.January 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm #1203282623
I don’t think Memoirs of a Geisha or Slumdog Millionaire were deserving of acting nominations. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon certainly had great performances but Zhang Ziyi’s supporting bid was blatant category fraud. (She and Michelle Yeoh were nominated at BAFTA for supporting and lead, respectively.) Considering them both in the lead category, I’m not sure either of them would’ve made my top five for that year. Being a wuxia film, Crouching Tiger may have suffered from genre bias within the actors branch as much as racial bias. Parasite, of course, deserved at least one acting nomination if not more.
Haven’t seen The Last Emperor so I can’t comment on that.January 13, 2020 at 4:32 pm #1203282625
Parasite & crouching tiger makes sense because they’re foreign made and voters would rather invest in domestic actors/actresses rather than foreign ones that most likely will not focus in having a career in America. It’s how the world works, it’s building personal connections. You would rather reward someone who will most likely contribute and benefit you (in this case Hollywood) than someone who would generally focus in their homeland. It’s a natural human trait.
George McKay was shut out of best actor since the beginning and he came from a highly lauded film although he gave a phenomenal performance.
For Awkwafina I never understood why she was so highly praise critically. She gave a good performance but it still felt like it was Awkwafina being Awkwafina but being a little bit sad. I never saw her transform into a new character. I was like, don’t cry Awkwafina, it’s okay throughout the movie lol Adam Sandler on the other-hand went far and beyond transformed himself. I didn’t care for his character because he was so unsympathetic but it was different than what we are mostly used to.January 13, 2020 at 4:36 pm #1203282661
It’s rather sickening. No one can deny there’s a pattern. This year was the best time to break the mold, and they went safe.January 13, 2020 at 4:40 pm #1203282673
You guys can analyze each individual case to death but at the end of the day, it’s the pattern that tells the story.
Besides, it’s not like we’ve ever had a shortage of white nominees that are less than deserving, so why does that suddenly matter when it comes to minorities?January 13, 2020 at 4:42 pm #1203282680
For Latino actors too!January 13, 2020 at 4:43 pm #1203282682
I thought Letters from Iwo Jima would be an exception because I was pretty sure Ken Watanabe was nominated for that, but turns out he was nominated for the Tom Cruise-led The Last Samurai. 🙃 4 noms: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Sound Editing (won), 0 acting nominee.January 13, 2020 at 5:43 pm #1203282796
Yeah, this is becoming a problem especially now. There’s already not a ton of Asian-centered stories or stories starring Asian leads (now that we have people from Crazy Rich Asians, Dev Patel, and others, that could slowly change), but The Farewell being completely shut out and Parasite slightly underperforming is disgraceful.
What we can do is push for more amazing stories starring Asian people and more filmmaking opportunities for talented Asian directors and writers.
Oscars 2020: I stan Joaquin Phoenix, Willem Dafoe, Alan Silvestri, and Dean Deblois.
Emmys 2020: I stan Logan Lerman, Olivia Colman, and David Harbour.
Tom Hanks and Amy Adams stan in general.
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