Le Jianne Soriano
March 23, 2021
Here are some of the Asian talents that made history with the 2021 Oscar nomination
Asians are slowly taking over the kingdoms on the Oscar stage. After last year’s historic Bong Joon-ho win, many are questioning whether the streak will continue.
And with the nominations for the 2021 awards just announced, they seem to be the most diverse Oscars ever, with nine of the 20 nominees working for people of color. A total of 70 women received 76 nominations, the most in Oscar history. It also marks the first time that many Asian actors have been named in their regions.
Discover some of the Asian talents that have made history with the recently announced 2021 Oscar nominations.
(Related: Cast Minari: Meet Asian Stars at the 2021 Oscars Best Picture Nominee)
Naming: The best support actress for Minari
South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung is no stranger when it comes to awards and prizes. The 73-year-old actress boasts a career lasting more than half a century, with several films and TV series under her belt. Named for the best support actress for Minari (2020) is a trick that a South Korean artist never performed, even last year’s Oscar-winning Parasite (2019) didn’t get a nod for any of his throws.
Youn’s rise to stardom is from Kim Ki-young Fire Woman in 1971. It brought home best actor awards from Korean film awards and paved the way for more projects. Shortly taking a hiatus from the entertainment scene after her marriage even though she was at the height of her career, Youn moved to the USA. But after her divorce, she returned to the screen in the 1980s fighting the stigma that was spread around separated women in the country.
But Youn rose to the challenge and played characters who helped shape the narratives of the films in which she starred. A performance steals scenes in Minari, carrying the emotional weight of the film with it.
(Related: Oscars 2021 Names: Read full list here)
Naming: The best actor for Metal sound
Riz Ahmed continues his historic win as the first Muslim actor and first Asian to win a major Emmy award in 2017 for the limited edition, Night Of. Now, the British-Pakistani actor has once again made a name in the history books as the first Muslim nominated for the Oscars for Best Actor and the fourth Muslim actor in all out after naming Omar Sharif, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Mahershala Ali. Originally famous for his work in such independent films The road to Guantanamo (2006), Four lions (2010) and The Funductist Reluctant (2013), Ahmed found a major breakthrough Night tree (2014).
Since then, the actor has appeared in acclaimed films such as Jason Bourne (2016) and Rogue One (2016). But his illustrious career in Night Of he solidified his talent as an actor. For the Metal Sound (2019), he was seconded for the Golden Globe. But that’s not all there is to the actor. He is also a member of the hip-hop group Swet Shop Boys and made the record albums, Microscope and Cashmere, recording on the USA Account Board 200.
Naming: The best actor for Minari
Most would recognize Steven Yeun from his role as Glenn Rhee in The walking Dead. It’s almost unbelievable that the Korean-American used to be bidding for a five-line career to now make history as the first Asian-American actor to be named Best Actor. Along with Riz Ahmed, this is the first time in the 93-year history of the Oscars that two actors of Asian descent have been named in the lead actor category.
Just like the zombies he sent the walking Dead, Steven Yeun came back to life, resuming his career and taking part in acclaimed works from South Korea’s most famous leaders, including Bong Joon-ho’s Okja (2017) and Lee Chang-dong’s Burning (2018), the latter won several top actor nominations that support it. Yeun’s performance in Minari this may be the best part of his career, but the actor is just getting started.
(Related: 2021 Oscars: Steven Yeun Makes History as First Asian-American Best Actor Nominee)
Naming: Best Director for Nomadland
Starting to make history as the first Asian woman to win Best Director at the Golden Globes, Chloe Zhao is back again. This time, she is the first Asian woman and a woman of color to receive the Best Director nod at the Oscars. Along with Emerald Fennel, this is the first time two women have been nominated for the category in awards history. The Beijing-born filmmaker is known for her independent films, all of which have garnered high praise.
Her first film, Song My brothers taught me (2015) first at Sundance and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Her next film, The Rider (2017) was also nominated for Best Film as well as Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards. Nomadland (2020) pushes Zhao into view, gaining her international recognition.
(Related: Chloé Zhao filmed Nomadland and becomes the first Asian woman to direct a Marvel movie)
Naming: Best Director for Minari
It’s hard to imagine Lee Isaac Chung about to stop making a film before he directed Minari (2020). Feature of Korean-American leader debate Munyurangabo (2007) first with high praise at Cannes for Special disrespect. But that was 11 years ago. His follow-up works, Lucky life (2010) and Abigail’s injury (2012) did not receive the same treatment.
Drawing from childhood experiences on a farm in Arkansas, Minari born and with that, Lee won his first Best Director nomination, just the second Asian-American male director to win a nod after M. Night Shyamalan in 1999 and the fourth all-Asian male director overall. follow Ang Lee and Bong Joon-ho. Lee joins Chloe Zhao in celebrating the first time two leaders of Asian descent have been named in the region.
(Related: Bong Joon-Ho confirms 2 sequels to his Oscar-winning film, Parasite)
Lee ‘s powerful film about the American dream was premiered at Sundance and won jury and audience awards. Despite the controversy, the film also threatened the Golden Globes ’Best Foreign Language Film.
Naming: The best international feature film for Better days
If you’ve never heard of Derek Tsang, now is the time to add this promotion director to your list. Tsang is the son of Hong Kong comedian and TV guest Eric Tsang. Despite the fact that Hong Kong films are a regular presence at many international film festivals, the film is the third ever Hong Kong-nominated film to be recognized at the Oscars. Tsang also makes history as the first Hong Kong-born leader to receive the honor.
Tsang also moons the moon as an actor, making his first foray Men suddenly in black (2003) and chaired the director for Discourse Lover (2010) which won him Best New Director nomination at the Golden Horse Awards in 2016. His 2016 film, Soul Mate he has received several nominations for Best Director at Hong Kong and Asian awards including Golden Horse Awards, Asian Film Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards.
A magnum opus, Better days (2019) swept eight Hong Kong Film Awards and became a major national hit after its release in China, totaling more than $ 220 million.