By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly
The new year has just begun and already so much has happened in Hollywood! Read on to find out the latest on award ceremonies, castings, and more.
Awards season: on winning trophies and being racist
It is awards season and celebrities are hitting the red carpet in droves! At this year’s Critics’ Choice Television Awards, the Netflix streaming series “Master of None” won the best comedy series category. The show follows a 30-something actor named Dev, played by comedian/actor Aziz Ansari, as he navigates love, work, and life in New York City.
Ansari is also the producer, director, writer, and co-creator of the show, along with co-creator and executive producer Alan Yang.
The duo, along with the rest of the cast, accepted the award on stage.
Yang delivered a particularly memorable speech thanking white guys for their role in the show’s win, “I’d like to thank all of the straight white guys who dominated movies and TV so hard, for so long, that stories about anyone else seem kind of fresh and original. Because you guys crushed it for so long, anything else seems kind of different.”
Yang’s hilarious words were a great way to shed light on how stories about characters of color are finally starting to break into mainstream television. His speech received much buzz on social media, with many commending Yang.
“Fresh Off the Boat” stars Randall Park and Constance Wu also appeared in the awards show, presenting the trophy for best supporting actress in a comedy. Wu, who plays the scene-stealing mother, was nominated in the best actress in a comedy category (the award ultimately went to “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star and creator Rachel Bloom). Comedian Ken Jeong and Ansari also presented for different award categories.
Elsewhere in Hollywood, people are upset about how, for the second year in a row, there are no actors of color nominated in the best actor or best actress categories at this year’s Oscars. Black celebrities have opted out of attending the Oscars in protest, while the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite has trended heavily on social media.
Political commentator and comedian Bill Maher recently threw his own thoughts into the ring. During a taping of his talk show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the host brought up Hollywood’s diversity problem.
“The dirty little secret is most movies are made now with an eye to the foreign market, and Asians really are racist,” said Maher. “They don’t want to see Black people generally in their movies.” Because of this, Maher said, Hollywood executives have to adopt racist practices in the industry to get that sweet capitalist money.
Leave it to Maher to whitesplain Hollywood’s rampant diversity issue.
This still doesn’t explain why we’re seeing white actors like Emma Stone cast as characters of Asian descent though. Wouldn’t Chinese audiences want to see faces that look like them in the movies? Whitesplain that, Maher.
Shortly after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy erupted, Korean actor Lee Byung-hun announced that he would be presenting at the Academy Awards this year. Lee will be the first Korean actor to present at the Oscars. Known for his roles in “Red 2” and “Terminator Genisys,” Lee will star in the celebrity-filled drama “Misconduct,” which was released earlier this month.
Lee will be one of two Korean stars expected to appear on the Academy Awards stage. One of this year’s Best Original Song nominees, “Simple Song #3,” was performed by Korean opera singer Sumi Jo.
Asian Americans had decent representation among the Oscar nominees this year. “Sanjay’s Super Team,” a Pixar animated short from animation artist Sanjay Patel, was nominated for Best Short Film (Animated) category. “Inside Out,” which features the voice of actor/comedian Mindy Kaling, was nominated for the Best Writing (Original Screenplay) category.
Asians sing their way through Broadway and television
Actor Daniel Dae Kim will make his Broadway debut this summer in the Lincoln Center Theater’s Tony-winning revival of “The King and I.” Known for his roles on television dramas “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0,” Kim will show off his singing chops for the first time on Broadway. He previously played the role of the titular King of Siam in a concert production of “The King and I” in London.
Speaking of Broadway celebrities, Lea Salonga is slated to guest star in an upcoming episode of the musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” The acclaimed show follows a successful, career-driven woman who impulsively gives up everything to find true love and happiness in suburban California. No word yet on what role Salonga will be playing, but there’s no doubt that she’ll be singing. Filipino American Vincent Rodriguez III also stars on the show in a lead role. I’m looking forward to seeing Salonga on the show — it’s a rare treat to see her grace the small screen! (end)
Vivian Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.