On Jan. 6, Asian-American actress Awkwafina became the first woman of Asian descent to claim the title of Best Actress in the 77th Golden Globes. Meanwhile, South Korean movie director Bong Joon-ho’s film “Parasite” won the title of Best Foreign Film and was nominated for Best Screenplay -Motion Picture in the Golden Globes. More recently, “Parasite” was also nominated for the Best Picture Award in the upcoming Academy Awards. Both the actress and film, apart from making notable history, emphasized the importance of increasing Asian representation around the world, especially in film and media.
“I’m really excited by the increased recognition and respect Asians are now receiving in the Golden Globes,” said Christine Lee (12), Asian-American student. “The fact that Asians are now receiving notable awards outside of the foreign film category is not only good news, but also a promising sign that Asian representation will, hopefully, continue to grow around the world.”
Although several Asian actresses such as Constance Wu have been nominated as candidates for the Golden Globes Best Actress award, Awkwafina has marked an important milestone for growing Asian representation in media by becoming the first Asian actress to officially win the award. In her speech, the actress proudly demonstrated her Asian culture when thanking her parents and elders for her achievements and claimed her hopes for her win to serve as a hopeful beginning for rising Asian representation, thus encouraging an increased presentation of Asian culture in the film industry.
“The fact that Awkwafina won the title of Best Actress in the Golden Globes shows that there is momentum being created behind increasing Asian representation,” said Tim Gardes, librarian and Asian film enthusiast. “Even if Awkwafina may have been snubbed in the upcoming Academy Awards along with other prominent Asian actors like Kang-ho Song from the film “Parasite,” Asian films and actors have overall come very far in being acknowledged in Hollywood.”
Bong Joon-ho also emphasized the importance of Asian representation in the media after his film “Parasite” got nominated for multiple major awards in both the Golden Globes and upcoming Academy Awards. In addition, upon receiving the Best Foreign Film award in the Golden Globes, the director also urged the audience to experience more Asian films in the future, claiming that they could be “introduced to so many more amazing films” once they “overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.” By claiming the title of the Best Screenplay- Motion Picture award in the Golden Globes and stressing the value of Asian media in his speech, Bong Joon-ho also accentuated the important role of Asian films and actors in media.
“I think the fact that Parasite was nominated for all these award sectors like the Foreign Language Film Award in the Golden Globes is truly amazing, let alone the fact that the movie received so much love and credit for its unique work,” said Meehee Park (12), Advanced Drama student. “In addition, Bong Joon-ho’s quote about the one-inch barrier subtitle was inspiring, as it served as a step toward opening the world’s perspective to movies from other foreign countries and introducing people to other cultures and genres in media.”
Both Awkwafina and Bong Joon-ho gave hope to the underrepresented Asian population in media with their wins in the Golden Globes. Additionally, “Parasite” recently took home the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, further shining the spotlight on Asian films. The upcoming Academy Award ceremony is currently expected to further emphasize the importance of Asian representation by acknowledging the Korean film “Parasite” and, possibly, recognizing other Asian actors and actresses for their talent.