It’s award season, and what award show is bigger than the Oscars? This year marks the 83rd Academy Awards, and the nominees for this year’s show (airing next Sunday, February 27) are definitely packing a punch. Last year’s big winner was The Hurt Locker followed by Avatar (both as expected by critics and viewers alike), but this year truly is a toss-up. Many talented individual and group efforts were recognized in this year’s nominations, including actress Hailee Steinfeld, who is of Filipino, Jewish, Caucasian and African American descent; Indian British film editor Tariq Anwar; and the Chinese film The Warriors of Quigang. Also, this year’s OSCARS Designer Challenge 2011 is coordinated by an Asian American woman, Toni Pickett. That’s a record three Oscar nominations for people of Asian background this year, not to mention the Designer’s Challenge being spearheaded by an Asian American woman. This year’s Oscars is definitely a breakthrough for the Asian community.
Hailee Steinfeld is a young (just 14-years-old!) up-and-coming actress nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as the role of Mattie Ross in True Grit.
Hailee’s father is Jewish, and her mother is a combination of Caucasian, Filipino and African American. She was born and raised in California, moving around from Los Angeles to Agoura Hills to Thousand Oaks. With 23 wins and nominations this award season for her performance in True Grit, this actress is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Tariq Anwar is an Indian-born British film editor, nominated for Best Film Editing of The King’s Speech. This is his second nomination, the first being for the film American Beauty (released in 1999). His father is Rafiq Anwar, a renown film director, so it was literally in his blood to pursue a career in film. He passed on the family genes to his daughter, Gabrielle Anwar (who knew she was Asian!), who opted for being in front of the camera as an actress rather than being behind it.
The King’s Speech is one of the heavy hitters this award season, and unless you’ve been under a rock the past few months it is likely that you have seen it or at the very least heard of it. The movie is about King George VI (Colin Firth) and his quest to overcome his stuttering problem, with the help of speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Most of the movie takes place within the confines of Lionel Logue’s small office space, and it truly does take a genius film editor to be able to express a sense of adventure and drama all the while staying within four walls.
The Chinese documentary The Warriors of Qiugang is nominated for this year’s Best Documentary Short Subject. The film was directed and produced by Ruby Yang, a Chinese American filmmaker from Hong Kong. This is her second nomination; her first nomination (and win) was for the 2007 film The Blood of Yingzhou District, for the same category as this year’s nomination, Best Documentary Short Subject.
The Warriors of Qiugang is a 39-minute documentary film that chronicles the story of the Chinese village of Qiugang, and its efforts to stop the poisoning of their lands by nearby chemical plants. The full video of this film can be found through Yale Environment 360 here.
This year also features the third annual OSCARS Designer Challenge 2011 titled, “Behind the Dress.” The coordinator for this year’s competition is none other than Toni Pickett, an Asian American woman from Los Angeles. The OSCARS Designer Challenge is an opportunity for viewers to get directly involved in the ceremony by voting on their favorite look online. The winning gown, as well as the model wearing the dress, will appear onstage during the Oscar ceremony. This provides an opportunity for big exposure for up-and-coming designers, and airtime on the biggest award show of the season is, well, priceless. “For those who don’t have the ability to contact celebrities, this can help springboard them to the next level,”said Pickett. One of the finalists for last year’s Designer Challenge went on to design the black backless dress that Sandra Bullock wore to the 2010 MTV Awards.
Although these are the only official Asian nominees for this year’s Academy Awards, there are sure to be many Asian actors, actresses, film editors and the like on the red carpet. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled, and tune in to watch the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27th! The red carpet show begins at 7 pm PST, and the awards show starts at 8 pm PST on ABC (check your local listings).