October 12, 2022
By Suzanne Joe Kai
2022 is year of great firsts for Asian Americans in Hollywood. Veteran actor, producer and director James Hong finally has received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in Los Angeles.
Congratulations to James Hong!
Co-starring in the 2022 movie Everything Everywhere All At Once Hong has acted in 149 feature films, 32 short films and 22 video games spanning nearly seven decades!
The ceremony on May 10, 2022 was joined by actor Daniel Dae Kim who raised funds to pay for Hong's star in four days in 2020.
Hong was also joined by Everything Everywhere All At Once co-star Jamie Lee Curtis.
At age 93, Hong becomes the oldest person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.
Daniel Dae Kim said Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are less than 1% of the names on the Walk Of Fame. Hong's name joins Anna May Wong, Mako, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu.
On the crowdfunding page, Daniel Dae Kim writes that Hong "epitomizes the term "working actor" and that's not even taking into account all he's done to help further representation for actors of color."
We still have a long road ahead to create parity in diversity, equity and inclusion. This is a good step forward.
Click here to AsianConnections.com
August 2, 2022
by Suzanne Joe Kai
Janet Yang has been elected President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences by its Board of Governors!
This is an epic, historic moment recognizing the first Asian American to become President of the Academy in its 95 year history.
She is only the second person of color and the fourth female elected as the Academy's President.
Ms. Yang began her first term as president August 2, 2022, and continues in her second term as a Govenor-at-Large of the Academy.
From Oscars.org is this statement by Academy CEO Bill Kramer:
“Janet is a tremendously dedicated and strategic leader who has an incredible record of service at the Academy.
She has been instrumental in launching and elevating several Academy initiatives on membership recruitment, governance, and equity, diversity, and inclusion.”
“I am thrilled that she is taking on the esteemed role of Academy President and look forward to working closely with her on our shared vision to serve our membership, celebrate the collaborative arts and sciences of motion pictures, and inspire the next generation of filmmakers.”
The Academy's announcement lists Yang’s extensive film producing credits including “The Joy Luck Club,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Zero Effect,” “High Crimes,” “Dark Matter,” “Shanghai Calling” and the Oscar®-nominated animated feature “Over the Moon.” She won an Emmy® for the HBO film...
February 7, 2022
by Suzanne Joe Kai
Progress continues with our society's push for more "diversity, equity and inclusion."
If you search online for the term Diversity, Equity and Inclusion you will find the term "DEI" is now a standard term.
Its on many people's drawing boards in corporate America, and most importantly in Hollywood on how mainstream media, movies, and TV shows are made.
If filmmakers aspire to win awards at the Oscar level, the Academy now has guidelines on "DEI", and in recent years has initiated its own initiative called "Academy Aperture 2025" with the goal that Oscars.org released in this statement on September 8, 2020:
“The aperture must widen to reflect our diverse global population in both the creation of motion pictures and in the audiences who connect with them.
The Academy is committed to playing a vital role in helping make this a reality,” said Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson.
“We believe these inclusion standards will be a catalyst for long-lasting, essential change in our industry.”
Here are some resources we've been writing about, and also from other outlets:
July 1, 2021 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Invites 395 Members for 2021. https://asianconnections.com/arts-and-entertainment/item/the-ampas-2021-class-of-invitees-continues-to-be-more-inclusive
September 9, 2020 & Updated March 16, 2021 by the...
By Suzanne Joe Kai
With the Television Academy and CBS announcing that its 2021 Emmy Awards Show would be the 'most inclusive ever,' as reported by critic Kristen Lopez for IndieWire - on the day of the live televised broadcast, Oscar and Emmy nominee James LeBrecht, directors of "Crip Camp" with wife Nicole Newnham saw that the promised 'ramp making access to the stage open to all" was not there.
This prompted James to go to his Twitter account to blast CBS and the Television Academy.
Without a ramp, wheelchair bound James LeBrecht ("Crip Camp") nominated that evening for an Emmy, and others with disabilities could not reach the 2021 Emmy Awards stage which was broadcasting live across America.
It took nearly 50 years for James, his colleagues, and thousands of others to see the landmark 1973 Americans with Disabilities laws enacted.
These changes in our laws from those early years are presented vividly with archival footage of young James and his childhood camper friends who attended and bonded at a camp for youth with disabilities.
James' documentary "Crip Camp" originally screened at the Sundance...
September 6, 2021
by Suzanne Joe Kai
I invited a friend to join me to see SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, the Marvel Studios movie directed by Destin Daniel Cretton on its opening weekend.
Like many Asian Americans I know, we are starved with the lack of faces who look like us in mainstream movies.
We were not disappointed. In fact, the lead actor, Simu Liu, the first Asian to star in a Marvel Studios movie looked, talked, and acted just like an Asian American born and raised in the U.S. In fact, even though Simu sounded and acted just like one of us born in America, he was raised in Canada, and born in Harbin, China. He has succeeded in breaking through all boundaries in reaching North American audiences.
The ensemble cast was also terrific. Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Tsai Chin, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Ronny Chieng, the whole cast was great - listed here on IMDB.
The box office gross for SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS opened strong.
Associated Press reported forecasts predicting a $50 million box office estimate over the Labor Day weekend taking into account that we are in a Covid-19 pandemic.
Instead it smashed that forecast reporting an estimated $71.4 Million in ticket sales.
I attended a meeting at the Writers Guild of America in Hollywood a few years earlier to hear a researcher from Nielsen present findings on the potential of a "sleeper market" - the Asian American movie-goer...