Asian Representation Grows at 2019 Golden Globes
Sandra Oh made history at the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards (Jan. 6) by being the first-ever Asian host of the awards show. However, her hosting gig wasn't the only moment that put the spotlight on the Asian community. There were other instances during the Golden Globes that proved that the Asian and Asian-American representation is finally becoming a bigger presence in Hollywood.
First, there was Oh: Yes, she stood alongside Andy Samberg to host Sunday night's festivities, but her hosting stint had more of an impact because she used some of her time to speak both to and for a group that has been long overlooked by the industry.
"I said 'yes' to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change," Oh said during her opening monologue. “And I’m not fooling myself. I’m not fooling myself. Next year could be different. It probably will be. But right now, this moment is real. Trust me, it is real. Because I see you. And I see you, all these faces of change, and now, so will everyone else.”
Earlier in the monologue, Oh gave props to Crazy Rich Asians for being "the first studio film with an Asian American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha," which brought a swift and loud apology from Emma Stone, a white actress who, as you may remember, played one-quarter Chinese and one-quarter Hawaiian character Captain Allison Ng in the 2015 romantic comedy Aloha.
Later on in the show, Oh made history again when she won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama for her starring role in Killing Eve. The win made her the first woman of Asian descent to receive more than one Golden Globe award, as well as the first Asian to win in the category in 38 years. (The first went to Yoko Shimada, who is of Japanese descent, in 1981 for her role in the 1981 TV series, Shōgun.)
Oh, who received her first golden statue in 2005 in the Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for playing Cristina Yang in Grey's Anatomy, was emotional over the win and made a touching tribute to her parents in Korean. "There are two people here tonight that I'm so grateful they're here with me. I'd like to thank my mother and my father," she said while accepting her award, bowing to her family in the audience. "Umma and appa, saranghaeyo." (In English: "Mom and dad, love you.")
Later, Darren Criss, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Film for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, also made sure to show gratitude to his mother, who is from Cebu, Philippines, for all her love and support.
"It's been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood, and I'm so enormously proud to be a teeny tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipina woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming to this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this. So Mom, I know you're watching this. You are hugely responsible for most of the good things in my life. I love you dearly. I dedicate this to you," he said during his speech.
The biggest sign of Asian representation at the Golden Globes was, of course, Crazy Rich Asians, which was nominated for two gold statues that night: Constance Wu for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy and Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. While neither Wu nor the film won, much of the cast did show up to show their support and celebrate the success of the 2017 rom-com, which grossed more than $200 million worldwide.
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It was a selfie kind of night. Thank you @iamsandraohinsta and @andysamberg for the numerous shout outs! Still all so surreal to me. #CrazyRichAsians #GoldenGlobes A post shared by Jon M Chu (@jonmchu) on
While this isn't the first time actors of Asian descent have appeared at the Golden Globes, the strength of the community's presence really came in numbers last night. And as Oh said during the monologue, "Next year could be different. It probably will be."
Let's hope it will be... but only for the better.