history three times at the 76th Golden Globes Awards as
the first Asian American host, the first Asian American woman to win multiple
Golden Globes, and the first Asian American woman in nearly 40 years to win for
Best Actress in a TV Drama for her role in Killing
Yet it was
not just her hosting duties or her receipt of a Best Actress award that made
the night so special for Asian Americans.
Rather, it was how Oh unabashedly celebrated her Asian-ness on live
TV. Asian Americans have rarely been
given the opportunity to have their faces or voices broadcasted live on such a
large platform. By owning her Asian
identity on stage, Oh took back control of the Asian American narrative.
On August 15, 2018, the release of Crazy Rich Asians was celebrated by members of the Asian diaspora across the globe, and especially by Asian Americans who have both longed for and championed more diverse Asian representation in Hollywood. As many other op-eds have pointed out, it is the first major Hollywood studio film that stars an all-Asian cast since The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago.
A still from "Crazy Rich Asians" featuring actors Awkwafina, Nico Santos, and Constance Wu.
By Guest Contributor: Do Nguyen Mai
Media is already saturated with unnecessary and unrealistic displays of wealth. Crazy Rich Asians might be a fun, light-hearted summer watch, but we shouldn’t herald the film as adequate or deeply meaningful representation when so many Asian Americans are darker-skinned, working class people, and refugees. Just as Elle Woods of Legally Blonde is hardly representative of most young women, the lives of the characters in Crazy Rich Asians are far from the everyday experiences of most Asian Americans.
The first time I told my parents I wanted to be an actor, I was seven.
I was at an age where I was mildly obsessed with Audrey Hepburn. My classics movie-loving dad had given me VHS tapes of My Fair Lady for my birthday, and after consuming all one hundred and seventy minutes of the film in all its Technicolor glory, I could think of nothing better than a career that would let me perform and dress up in fabulous costumes daily, just like Audrey herself.
I had more than a few childish daydreams: I would first wow film crew on set, as Hepburn had likely wowed the Fair Lady crew in her transformative performance as Eliza Doolittle. Once my film(s) were released, I would charm my way through the awards season before finally taking to the stage at the Academy Awards and graciously accepting the holy grail of acting: the Best Actress Oscar. In my young heart, this was obviously a future that was meant to be.
But when I confidently announced my future vocation plans to my parents, they laughed knowingly, before sitting me down to have a conversation on the ways of the world.
We learn from watching. If dramas are developmental exercises in identification and empathy in our formative years, one can easily surmise why many white men — such as those who take part in the alt-right movement — believe the world should revolve around only them, and women and minorities should be relegated to supporting roles or disappear entirely.