At the 93rd Academy Awards, the greatest festival in the U.S. world of cinema, Chinese director Chloe Zhao’s film “Nomadland” shone, garnering awards for best picture, best director and best actress. Zhao became the first non-white woman to win the award for best director. We want to congratulate her on this great achievement.
“Nomadland” is the story of a woman in her 60s, who is living like a nomad in the Western part of the U.S. Zhao expressed her delight, saying, “If this win means more people get to live their dream then I am extremely grateful.”
The award for best supporting actress was awarded to Youn Yuh-jung for her role in “Minari,” a depiction of a Korean family that immigrated to the U.S. Youn is the first Korean performer, male or female, to win an Academy Award as an actor. In the U.S. film industry, which is dominated by white people, this rapid progress for Asians has great significance.
Hollywood has been predominantly white, so much so that some have said that the “Oscars is so white.” However, in 2016, criticism mounted as the previous year’s trend of all white performers as candidates in the acting category continued, and some people even boycotted the award ceremony. Accordingly, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences diversified its voting committee, embarking on a reformation to double the number of women and racial minorities. By last summer, the number of women has more than doubled, and the number of minorities more than tripled.
Some say that reform is still in progress but we recognize that significant strides have been made, with award winners including candidates of Asian and African descent, demonstrating more racial diversity and inclusion of younger candidates as well.
Contemporary U.S. society also suffers from division and discrimination. The violence and harassment of people of Asian descent have increased as a result of COVID-19. According to California State University, San Bernardino, in 16 major cities, 122 anti-Asian hate crimes were reported in 2020, 2.5 times more than the previous year. Since last March, U.S. nonprofit organizations have received nearly 3,800 reports of violence and harassment.
In March, six women of Asian descent were killed in a series of shootings in the outskirts of Atlanta. It is suspected that these crimes were racially motivated, and they must not be tolerated.
The Academy Awards results might set an example for such societal issues. The backdrop of the recent hatred is that the previous U.S. president, Donald Trump, called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus,” inciting discrimination. President Joe Biden’s administration must take swift action to eliminate discrimination.