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Arts Culture 6 Asians Making Oscar History In 2021

6 Asians Making Oscar History In 2021

6 Asians Making Oscar History In 2021
Photo: Courtesy of A24 Films
By Chananya De Ruiter
March 22, 2021
After Bong Joon-ho’s historic win last year, Asians are slowly taking the helm on the Oscar stage; here are the history-making Oscars 2021 nominations of Asian talents

1/6 Youn Yuh-Jung

Nomination: Best Supporting Actress for Minari

The 73-year-old actress is no stranger when it comes to awards and prizes. Having starred in more than 100 movies and TV series, Youn Yuh-Jung has now broken the ceiling as the first South Korean to ever receive an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The veteran actress whose film career spans over half a century is being recognised for her scene-stealing performance in Lee Isaac Chung's Minari.

2/6 Riz Ahmed

Nomination: Best Actor for Sound of Metal

Following up his historic win as the first Muslim and first Asian actor to bag a lead acting Emmy in 2017 for the limited series, The Night Of, British actor and musician Riz Ahmed once again makes history being nominated for Best Actor at this year's Oscars. Previously known for his work in independent films such as The Road to Guantanamo (2006), Four Lions (2010) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013), Ahmed got his big break in Nightcrawler (2014). The actor has also appeared in blockbuster films such as Jason Bourne (2016) and Rogue One (2016).

3/6 Steven Yeun

Nomination: Best Actor for Minari

Most of us would recognise Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead. A definite fan favourite on the zombie show, Yeun is now the first Asian American to be nominated in the lead actor category for the film Minari. It’s the first time in the 93-year history of the Oscars that two actors of Asian descent (Yeun and Ahmed) are being nominated in the Best Actor category. 

4/6 Chloe Zhao

Nomination: Best Director for Nomadland

Known for her independent films, Beijing-born filmmaker Chloe Zhao is the first Asian and woman of colour to get a Best Director nod at the Oscars. This is also the first that that two women (Zhao and Emerald Fennel) are in the runnings for this category. Nominated as Best Director for the film Nomadland, Zhao's debut film was Song My Brothers Taught Me (2015), which was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature at Sundance. 

5/6 Lee Isaac Chung

Nomination: Best Director for Minari

On the verge of quitting filmmaking, Lee Isaac Chung may consider the alternative after this Oscar nomination for Best Director. He is only the second Asian-American male director to gain this recognition after M Night Shyamalan in 1999 and the fourth male Asian director overall following Ang Lee and Bong Joon-ho. Joining Chloe Zhao, the two Asian descent directors have been nominated in the category. Premiered at Sundance, Lee’s powerful movie about the American dream has won over the jury and audience awards. The movie also bagged Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes.



6/6 Derek Tsang

Nomination: Best International Feature Film for Better Days

Derek Tsang's name may not have been familiar to everyone prior to his nomination, but it's now the time to put the rising director on your list. The Hong Kong director has recently made history, landing an Oscar nomination for Best International Feature Film. Better Days (2019) is the first film to bag a Best International Feature Film nomination in 28 years and is only the third ever Hong Kong submission to be acknowledged at the Oscars. Tsang also makes history as the first Hong Kong-born director to receive the honour. 

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Arts & Culture Oscars 2021 Movies


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