Asian representation in Oscars makes history


Meghana Kakani

A digitally constructed image made by Hill Top Times graphic designer, Meghana Kakani depicting an Oscar being held up in celebration.

Cadence Chacon, Staff Reporter

The Oscars, also known as the Academy Awards, is an annual film ceremony that gives awards in various categories in the film industry, including to actors, directors, designers and musicians. The Oscars first started in 1929, more than 90 years ago. The 2023 Oscars were held on Sunday, March 12 and held huge importance in making history for the Asian community.

The film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” was nominated in 11 different categories, including Best Picture and Best Director, and walked away with seven awards. This film made history with Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh winning Best Actress in a Leading Role, making her the first Asian actress to win in this category. 

During Yeoh’s acceptance speech, she said, “For all the little boys and little girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities.” Yeoh comments on just how much representation matters and how young kids seeing people that look like they win such big awards give them hope to somehow achieve something that great. 

“When I saw that Michelle Yeoh won the Oscar, it made me so happy to see someone like me, an Asian-American woman, being represented,” junior Cecilia Trieu said. “Growing up, I didn’t see an accurate and drawn-out representation of the Asian community.”

Accurate Asian representation in Hollywood is not something that happens often, though, in recent years, more and more accurate representation has been occurring. When the Korean film “Parasite” won best Picture in 2020, it made history as the first foreign language film to win Best Picture. Having people who look like you achieve such big things is very important and proves that accurate representation matters. 

“Representation in the media is crucial because it inspires people of color to do great things,” Trieu said. “Growing up, children want to see people that look like them being represented. It lets us feel seen and makes us feel like we can also do big things.”

This year’s Oscars held such a big impact on people of color. Actor Ke Huy Quan won his first Oscar this year after being in the acting industry for almost 40 years. This special moment touched so many people, and his acceptance speech held such an important message. 

Ke Huy Quan said during his speech, “My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow, I ended up on Hollywood’s biggest stage.” His speech highlighted the hardships he had to go through to get to where he is and how, despite everything, he made it. Such recognition serves as an inspiration to not only the Asian community but to everyone: that you can do it and not give up.