Fil-Am H.E.R., Asians make Oscars 2021 history despite Asian hate

MANILA, Philippines — Amid news of Asian hate, singer-songwriter H.E.R. is among the many Asians that won big at the 93rd Academy Awards in Hollywood earlier today.

“AN OSCAR WINNER?!? GOD IS SO GREAT!!!!!!!!” wrote the singer-songwriter on her Instagram account minutes after taking her golden statuette.

Born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson to a Filipina mother and African-American father, the multi-Grammy winning artist fetched her first Oscar for “Fight For You” at the Best Original Song category. H.E.R co-wrote it with Tiara Thomas and D’Mile.

“Fight For You” was used on the end credits of “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The film is an autobiographical drama about the betrayal of Fred Hampton, the head of the Illlinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1960s.

Related: In photos: Oscars 2021 red carpet

Asian firsts

Apart from H.E.R., South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung picks her first Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Minari.” The film tells the story a South Korean family who immigrated to the United States set in the 1980s.

Youn was flushed as she accepted her trophy, having a moment with Hollywood A-list star Brad Pitt.

“Oh, Mr. Pitt, finally it’s nice to meet you… Where were you while we were filming in Tulsa?,” Youn remarked at the start of her speech.

Pitt’s Plan B production company is among the producers of her film “Minari.”

Youn won over Maria Bakalova for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Olivia Colman for “The Father,” Amanda Seyfried for “Mank” and Glenn Close for “Hillbilly Elegy.”

Related: Nonconformist Youn Yuh-jung: South Korea’s first Oscar-winning actress

It’s another South Korean historic feat as Youn is the first South Korean actress to have won the award. Last year also marked a feat for South Korean cinema with “Parasite” taking home major awards.

It was in February last year that Bong Joon-ho and his smash-hit and critically acclaimed film “Parasite” dominated the Oscars. To fans of the South Korean director and his works endearingly called BongHive, they’d be glad to know that he finished one script of his follow-up projects to “Parasite.”

“Yes, I am currently writing two scripts at the same time. It feels like I’m splitting my brain in half. Left and right with these two scripts,” he told “Knives Out” director Rian Johnson in the podcast “The Director’s Cut.”

Bong did not give any more details but in an interview with Variety published on November 19, 2019, he had already shared pieces of information on the projects he’s working on after “Parasite.”

“Actually, I am preparing two different projects. One is a Korean-language one, and the other one is an English-language one. Both projects are not big films. They’re the size of ‘Parasite’ or ‘Mother.’ The Korean film is located in Seoul and has unique elements of horror and action. It’s difficult to define the genre of my films. The English project is a drama film based on a true event that happened in 2016. Of course I won’t know until I finish the script, but it has to be set half in the U.K. and half in the U.S.” he told Variety.

During the podcast, Bong also shared that he was done with “Parasite” the moment he finished mixing it.

“For me, ‘Parasite’ ended in March 31, 2019 when I finished the final mix and so, to me, it was already something of the past. It’s just that so many things happened after the film was released,” he shared to Johnson.

He shared that he also felt kind of afraid when he got back to Korea after making Oscar history as the first South Korean director to win four major awards, namely, Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film and Writing (Original Screenplay). It was a feat for a first-timer at the Oscars.

“So on my plane ride back, after the Oscars coming back to Korea in February, I have so many thoughts roaming around in my head because when I go back to Korea, they would be so many reporters and people waiting for me. All these Korean events that wanted to invite me and it kinda made me afraid because I felt that I would spend another year if I say yes to all those things just, you know talking about the film. I felt bad but I kind of declared to the Korean media that I just need to be alone and work,” he revealed.

He then spent a “lot of time in silence, a lot of time by myself” to continue his work and writing, the latter which he often does in coffee shops.  

“They were projects I was working on before ‘Parasite’, it was also comforting to know that nothing really changed with those projects because of ‘Parasite’. It was mentally comforting to know that I can continue working with this job that I have,” he shared.  

“Parasite” is set to have a limited series in HBO with Bong and Adam McKay serving as executive producers. 

The podcast also shed light on his directing process (He’s OC and is afraid of letting go of control of his movies that is why he serves as director, writer and producer of most of his films).

He also did an acting job which he refuses to reveal. He shared that this is the reason why he lets his actors be like “wild horses,” giving them free reigh with an “invisible fence” that would lead them to the direction he wanted to take. And he is not a fan of rehearsals, same as the actors he casts.

Making history 

Chloe Zhao is another woman who made history at the Oscars this year as the second female director and the first woman of color to have won the Best Director for the star-studded drama “Nomadland.” The film tells the story of marginalized Americans who live and roam around in their vans.

The Beijing-born director’s movie that starred Frances McDormand was named Best Picture. McDormand took home the Best Actress award.  

Related: Beijing-born Chloe Zhao is second woman to win best director Oscar

Zhao is among the most anticipated directors as she is set to debut as one of the directors in the hugely popular Marvel Cinematic Universe.

She helmed “Eternals,” the first movie that opens the fourth phase of the popular superhero franchise. It stars Angelina Jolie, Kit Harington, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Don Lee and Salma Hayek.

It was initially set for release in November 2020 but was moved back due to the pandemic. “Eternals” is scheduled to be released in the United States in November 5, 2021.

RELATED: LIST: Oscars 2021 winners in main categories

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