September 16, 2018
At a recent screening of the box office hit Crazy Rich Asians, sponsored by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association, I sat next to actor Tim Lounibos. It was truly a landmark film - actors who look like us! After 25 years of a drought of Hollywood films featuring Asian Americans - could this be a moment of change? If $100+million dollar box office clout proves that Asian faces can sell movie tickets, let's hope this continues.
We asked Tim for his commentary on this moment in time. - Suzanne Joe Kai
It’s an amazing time
The past several weeks have been absolutely amazing for the Asian American entertainment industry. Crazy Rich Asians blew past $100 million at the box office in less than three weeks, becoming the most successful rom-com in almost a decade on its way to surely cracking the top ten all-time list for that genre.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a huge success on Netflix to the point where it has actually raised the popularity of the Japanese yogurt drink Yakult and the stock value of the company who produces it.
Searching had the second highest per-screen box office average in its opening week, trailing only CRA, and more than doubled its distributor’s box office expectations.
As a result, Hollywood has begun greenlighting Asian American projects left and right, and is being more inclusive in casting Asian American actors in general. It’s an amazing...
September 15, 2017
by Suzanne Kai
The controversial practice of whitewashing movies has been going on for nearly a century in Hollywood.
In the 1930's even the starring role of the Charlie Chan movies, scripted to be a Chinese man, was given to white actors pretending to play Chinese men.
Fast forward to 2017 - Ed Skrein, an English actor and rapper, wins the "Hellboy" movie role of Major Ben Saimio, a character of Japanese heritage in the original comic books.
Social media erupted negatively to his casting.
Unlike actors who won and defended their roles which were originally written as Asian characters, such as Scarlett Johansspn (Ghost in the Shell), Tilda Swinton (Doctor Strange), Matt Damon (The Great Wall), and Emma Stone (Aloha) Ed Skrein gave his role back.
Ed received favorable social media reaction, and Daniel York, writer for Time Magazine wrote this commentary Skrein is setting an example other actors should follow. If only more people in the industry had his integrity, courage and common humanity.
Ed Skrein issued the message below.
Skrein is best known in America for his role as Daario Naharis in the third season of Game of Thrones, and his roles in The Transporter Refueled, and Deadpool. Now he is known for
"It is clear that representing this character in a culturally accurate way holds significance for people, and that to...
June 25, 2018
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has extended invitations to 928 people, a record high number of invitations, more than last year's record of 774 new members.
The Academy's president in 2016 Cheryl Boone Isaacs made it clear that she would push for a more diverse membership after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, and bringing three Asian children on stage posing as accountants without any speaking roles to be used as the butt of an insulting, stereotypical joke by host Chris Rock.
In 2016, Ed Diokno, AsAm contributing writer put the initial efforts into context: his full article is on this link and below)
“The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences invited 683 artists to become members of the organization which sponsors the Oscars. Forty-one percent of the invitees, or 272, are people of color. Seventy of those are Asian or Asian American.The move to diversify the Academy’s membership was not unexpected after the firestorm that overlooked actors of color for any acting nominations for two straight years.”
…“But really – the needle towards inclusiveness and diversity has barely moved. Prior to the invitations being sent out, only 8 percent of the Academy membership were minorities. Even if all the minority invitees accepted, there would only be 11 percent minority membership. Hardly enough to make a significant change in the Academy’s voting patterns. In order to meet the stated diversity...
Gangneung, South Korea
February 17, 2018
18 year old American figure skater Nathan Chen from Salt Lake City, Utah came to the Winter Olympics to win a medal.
He didn't, but instead he wowed audiences worldwide by making history as the first person in Olympic competition to perform six unprecedented quad jumps.
Nathan's historic performance of six quads, included five clean quad jumps, and on the third quad his hand touched the ground.
Despite his extraordinary talents and record as the only international skater who was undefeated on the Grand Prix circuit this season, at the 2018 Winter Olympics Nathan came in 17th in a short program, and in the team event short program, another dismal score.
"I already fell so many times, I might as well just go out, throw everything down, and see what happens," Chen told the press.
On his third day of competition, in men's free skate, Nathan skated as the star that he is, and rose from 17th to 5th place.
Reigning Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu from Japan won the gold, becoming the first back-to-back gold medalist in the event since 1952 when American figure skater Dick Button won the gold.
Chen, the son of Chinese immigrants, began taking skating lessons at the age of three. By the time he was ten, he was competing in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. He is expected to compete in March for the 2018 World Figure Skating Championships.
February 13, 2018
Pyeongchang, South Korea
Congratulations to Chloe Kim, 17 year-old USA team snowboarder who just won the Gold medal in the women's halfpipe.
The American snowboarder from Torrance, California, Chloe Kim won with a score of 98.25 on her final run with China's Jiayu Liu taking silver and United States' Arielle Gold winning bronze.
Kim, became the first woman to score a perfect 100 score in the halfpipe in 2016 and has won three X Games gold medals.
Kim's parents emigrated from South Korea to the U.S. in 1982 reportedly with just $800 in cash.
Chloe's father, Jong Jin Kim gave up his job to help his daughter train in snowboarding and reach her Olympic dreams.