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Why did the Oscars snub Asian actors last year?

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    TrumpBiden
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    #1203947357

    Maybe a bit of a controversial topic, but I was honestly really shocked.

    Some of the best performances last year came from the Parasite cast, but also The Farewell. The fact nobody got a nomination really struck me in an odd way. I remember the BAFTA’s doing the same, but no way would I have seen it coming from the Oscars.

    Discuss.

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    Jeffrey Kare
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    #1203947472

    We’ve seen in the past how hard it can be for Asian performers to land Oscar nominations. Just ask the casts of The Last Emperor, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Letters From Iwo Jima, and Slumdog Millionaire. I think had last season not been so unnecessarily truncated, Awkwafina at least would’ve made the Best Actress lineup thanks to her Golden Globe win.

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    M: The Original
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    #1203947737

    Asian actors have to combat two things the precieved sameness if their physical appearance and the inherent strangeness of their ethnic names.

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    TrumpBiden
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    #1203947786

    It’s kind of weird, because last year I traveled to Taiwan for about a month and I literally noticed by the end of the trip how different everyone looked. I’m having more issues now trying to differentiate white men with beard.

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    FilmRoyalty
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    #1203947938

    This is so upsetting to me. I am not of East Asian descent but when there are worthy performances constantly ignored, it just drives me insane.

    I honestly believe that there is no expectation for Asian descent performers to get nominated so no one votes for them.

    But, I find it funny that Hollywood now depends on the Asian market to post their billion dollar headlines…

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    Miles
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    #1203947998

    I don’t really know how to say this but I think Korean naming customs are so foreign to Americans that they have a hard time remembering their names?

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    Chitanda170
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    #1203948121

    Maybe because they weren’t good enough?

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    FilmRoyalty
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    #1203948132

    Maybe because they weren’t good enough?

    Half of the nominees from last year were not “good enough.”

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    abelfenty
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    #1203948385

    Awkwafina, Zhao Shuzhen and The Farewell’s shutout in general was truly disgusting. Crazy Rich Asians also deserved some love the year prior.

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    ArtIsntEasy
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    #1203948426

    Not even going into the shutout of THE FAREWELL, I think that the fact that a movie that ended up receiving the groundswell of passion that PARASITE did should’ve easily translated into acting noms.

    Sure, they may have won SAG ensemble but you cannot watch PARASITE and think “God, if only there was a performance as good as Laura Dern’s in MARRIAGE STORY”. Simply put, most of the nominees in any of the acting categories were less worthy when compared to the PARASITE cast, particularly Song Kang Ho, Cho Yeo jeong, Park So dam, and Lee Jung eun.

    “The art of making art is putting it together...”

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    The Girls' Room
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    #1203948452

    Not even going into the shutout of THE FAREWELL, I think that the fact that a movie that ended up receiving the groundswell of passion that PARASITE did should’ve easily translated into acting noms. Sure, they may have won SAG ensemble but you cannot watch PARASITE and think “God, if only there was a performance as good as Laura Dern’s in MARRIAGE STORY”. Simply put, most of the nominees in any of the acting categories were less worthy when compared to the PARASITE cast, particularly Song Kang Ho, Cho Yeo jeong, Park So dam, and Lee Jung eun.

    I CACKLED lmao you all know I love Dern in that role, but of course I agree. The cast of Parasite should’ve filled half of the nominee slots and I reckon they should’ve won both Supporting categories, if not more…

    watch I May Destroy You

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    FilmRoyalty
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    #1203948506

    If there are no nominees from the cast of Minari, I will start a #oscarshateasians campaign. I do not care who agrees or disagrees with it!!!

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    Monsoon 🌊
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    #1203948884

    The lack of Asian acting representation last year was shameful. There’s really no excuse why none of the Parasite cast were snubbed. Or why Awkwafina & Zhao Shuzhen didn’t receive nods for The Farewell. Hell, even Constance Wu deserved more love for Hustlers.

    👑Cicely Tyson (1924-2021)
    👑Mary Wilson (1944-2021)

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    veronikavoss
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    #1203949016

    Honestly, unfortunately, it was enough of a hurdle to get Parasite over the finish line last year because, largely, I think the language differences are more vast than between Americans and cultures they’re more familiar with (Spanish-speaking, French, etc.).

    Though given the limited competition I’d be surprised if Youn Yuh-jung doesn’t get a Supporting Actress nomination this year, so long as voters watch Minari. The film is a stronger, more conventional contender than something like The Farewell, and her performance is closer to someone like June Squibb than Zhao Shuzhen.

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    SDoesNotKnow504
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    #1203949520

    Maybe because they weren’t good enough?

    This is something only trolls would say. In the entire history of cinema, where foreign-language films have taken a hold in America and the Oscars since even before World War II and especially during various new waves in Europe and Asia, where their films have been good enough to nominate in various categories but generally none of the actors have been good enough? Really? We’ve had Italian, Spanish-speaking, and French performances nominated and winning Oscars, but their Asian counterparts are just not good enough?

    The truth is that Asian performers haven’t received nominations not because they weren’t good enough, it’s that Academy members aren’t very diverse still and haven’t been conditioned yet to start rewarding Asian performers.

    It’s hard getting an Oscar nomination period (unless you’re a chosen golden girl like Jennifer Lawrence). It’s harder for foreign performances. It’s a bit easier if it’s a language more Academy members are familiar with. The Brits, who speak English (obviously) have had the most success with Oscar because it’s pretty much a shared or at least intertwined history with America and some Americans are super Anglo-philes. BAFTA membership also overlap with the Academy, so that helps. Next is other Western European performances. However, even then it’s rare. Notable French actress Juliette Binoche had her one Oscar winning performance in an English-speaking role. Her next nomination was in another English-speaking role. That said, there have been a slew of French and Italian performances that have been nominated and I can think of two Italian-speaking performances that have won Oscars off the top of my head, Roberto Beneigni and Sophia Loren.

    You would think there would be a lot more Spanish-speaking performances nominated considering Spanish is the second most spoken language in America, but the membership didn’t always reflect that. It took the likes of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, and then the three Mexican directors (Cuaron, Del Toro, and Inarritu) to grab the Academy’s attention in the past few decades.

    The Academy for the most part ignored the Taiwan new wave (and the films of the brilliant Edward Yang and Hou Hsiao-hsien) and though they have appreciated and nominated twleve Japanese films in the Best International Film category and have respected the likes of Akira Kurosawa (including a well-deserved best director nomination over Spielberg for Ran) and had a surprise Best Director nomination for Hiroshi Teshigahara for Woman in the Dunes in 1964, Japan’s most notable cinema outside of Kurosawa has been ignored by the Academy. Ozu’s films were totally ignored by the Academy despite making what cinephiles and critics felt were some of the best films of all time.

    The Academy did have the good taste to give Satyajit Ray an Honorary Oscar, presented by the goddess herself, Audrey Hepburn.

    I think as indie and int’l films have become much more accessible throughout the past thirty or so years with technology simply making movies more accessible via VHS, DVD, premium cable movie channels, etc. and people have looked more into Eastern Asian cinema, it would be a matter of time before some of them started getting attention.

    I think Ang Lee was a beneficiary of that and he became the first Asian director who started getting consistent recognition. It helped that Lee was educated at NYU Film School and was able to go back-and-forth between making Chinese-speaking films and American productions.

    Now with the success of Parasite and explosion of Korean pop culture having success in America in film, music, and television (with streaming apps like Viki, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime having huge selections of Korean/Chinese/Japanese dramas), the next step is getting their performers recognized with language barriers and such.

    However, that’s only half the story. This issue can be separated by Asian performers in Asian films being nominated and the rising Asian-American cinema and Asian-American actors pushing forth American-made projects they have written and produced in the hopes of getting recognized in Hollywood. It started off in the trenches and there have been a good number of indie films that came out exploring various Asian-Am experiences, and now some are seeking mainstream funding/distribution. With that, Asian-American actors, with more exposure and box office success are now wondering why a barrier exists for their acting talent to get recognized. That’s a question I wonder about. Is it that many of us Asian-Ams still speak with a slight accent despite English being our second or even primary language? Is it that our projects are still seen as niche? Is that many Asian-Americans still need to be pushed into the arts and receive more formal training in acting (hasn’t stopped a lot of white American actors from receiving nominations)? There are a bunch of Asian-Am theater actors who still are seeking their breaks and have that training.

    Whatever it is, it’s something the Academy is now being confronted with, along with many other diversity-related issues. With all the people complaining about the quality of nominees we have in the acting categories (especially in the supporting actress and actor ones), it’s not like the nominees we’ve been getting are undeniable outside the faves to win.

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