The Unforgettable Gala, honouring Asian and Pacific Islander performances, was once again hosted by Simu Liu this year.
Simu is enjoying award season as a member of the Barbie cast and I really like what he said at the event about being part of Barbenheimer:
“I am responsible for 100% of the Asian representation in Barbenheimer. Like, you’re seriously going to tell me that there was not one Asian in the movie set in the nuclear physics department at UC Berkeley? Really?” Liu joked. “But in no way, shape, or form [am I] insinuating that our representation was lacking this year. It was yet another milestone year for Asians.”
And leading the way this milestone year has been Greta Lee for her performance in Celine Song’s Past Lives. Greta was honoured with the Breakthrough Award, which of course she was proud to receive but, at the same time, as Sarah noted recently, Greta is now 40 and she had to wait a long time to “break through”. And not because the talent wasn’t there but because the opportunity hadn’t caught up with her talent. It got to a point where she thought that she might never come into her main character moment. But during her acceptance speech last night, she talked about how Past Lives has changed her perspective:
“Now that I know what it’s like, it might be really hard to go back [to playing supporting roles], and I don’t want that for myself, and I don’t want that for any of you,” she said. “I think it’s time now for us to be at the center of our own stories, on our own terms. I hope to break through over and over and over again. There’s so much more work to be done, so let’s do it.”
Before Greta, there was Michelle Yeoh who, at 60, became the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. She, too, “broke through” late. But Greta’s in the Best Actress conversation right now. She may not win, but her nomination would still be notable. And could still be considered progress. Progress in one generation? As she says in her speech, the hope is that while today the breakthrough is happening at 40, maybe in a few years, the breakthrough happens at 20.
And on that note, here’s Ji-young Yoo last night, recently named on Variety’s list of 10 Actors to Watch:
Ji-young looked great in red last night ahead of what’s expected to be a big year for her with the upcoming releases of Freaky Tales and Expats.
Charles Melton was also on that list (although his inclusion seems like it’s a year or two late). Charles was also honoured last night at Unforgettable for his performance in May December and, as we all know, he’s a legitimate contender for a Best Supporting Actor nomination. In his remarks, Charles shouted out Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, John Cho, and Sandra Oh for keeping the doors open:
“Seeing a piece of my own humanity onscreen—and their stories that they told, no matter how big or small—was an inspiration for me. I understand the magnitude of this moment and honor the paths that were paved for me so that maybe I can pave a path for future generations in storytelling. I believe in our community and I believe in the power of us.”
How about the power of the Song-Covey sisters? To All The Boys… a reunion!
That’s Jenny Han with Anna Cathcart, Lana Condor, and Janel Parrish last night, aka Kitty, Lara Jean, and Margot.
With a bonus – Gia Kim aka Yuri Han who looked incredible in black lace.