For the record, I am thrilled to see the diversity in this year's Oscar nominees. We have both black and female directors nominated and four of the acting nominees are black as well.
I'm also thrilled to see that Kumail Nanjiani received a writing nomination for "The Big Sick" and the 2-3 Asians that received nominations in the design departments.
But as an Asian man, I'm tired of celebrating the small victories of singular nominations. For all the progress that the Oscars has made in a more diverse pool of nominees, Asians are still getting drastically left behind.
Here are some things you should know:
- Only one Asian man has been nominated and won for Best Actor, Ben Kingsley, who has been nominated twice and won for Gandhi.
- An Asian woman hasn't been nominated for Best Actress in 83 years. And it's only happened once with Merle Oberon who was part-Indian.
- Only one Asian man has won for Best Supporting Actor(Haing S. Ngor) and that was 1982. Since then only three Asian men have been nominated in the field.
- It's been 61 years since an Asian woman has won Best Supporting Actress(Miyoshi Umeki).
- It's been 36 years since an Asian role has won Best Supporting Actress and it was played by a white woman (Linda Hunt).
While this is a problem, it's not entirely the Academy's fault.
None of the actors nominated should be replaced by Asian actors because there were hardly any Asian actors cast in roles to warrant a nomination, to begin with.
And that's the problem. It seems to be a tall order to Hollywood casting to start looking at Asian actors for award-worthy roles. It's also equally challenging to get producers to bring Asian stories to the screen.
But are things starting to change? One can only hope.