Sunday, March 24, 2002

And the Winner Is...Political Correctness - The Oscars are over, thank God, and we can finally put an end to the biggest display of 'white guilt' for the year next to the Democratic Party convention. How else can you explain having appearances by hate-monger Al Sharpton in the opening segment, Whoopi Goldberg as the Master of Ceremonies and Oscar wins by Halle Berry and Denzel Washington during the evening--and then continue to hear speech after speech drone on about Black-Americans not getting their fair shake in Hollywood?! Black actors and actresses have been in movies of substance for decades, and still we see Hollywood play the race card so they could feel better about themselves. Tonight's awards were probably a step backward for Hollywood and for Black actors & actresses. Making a big deal about such a dated social issue--the under-representation of Black-Americans in the movies--is ridiculous.

Why don't we ever hear about how Hollywood portrays and treats Asian-American actors and actresses? Can you imagine the crappy roles and stereotypes that Asian-American actors have had to endure through the years--even to this day? Sure, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won a few awards last year, but that movie featured non-American performers and was made and produced outside of this country. Asian-American actors and actresses almost never get lead roles in feature films, and if they do, it's usually time for them to either sign-up for karate lessons or apply the dragon lady make-up. And don't get me started about The Joy Luck Club.

One recent movie that allowed Asian-American performers to shine was Justin Lin's Better Luck Tomorrow, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Better Luck Tomorrow is one of those rare American films that allowed its Asian-American characters to go beyond the stereotypes, and for its performers to display their talents in meaty, non-demeaning roles. Jenny and I saw this movie at this year's San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival, and I was blown away by the passionate performances by its Asian-American cast. Before Better Luck Tomorrow, these actors and actresses never had the opportunity to display their talents in today's Hollywood. One of the lead actors recalls submitting an audition tape of his movie performances to date, which consisted entirely of bit parts as a Chinese food delivery man. For all of you doubters, I suggest you read this interview with director Justin Lin and try to understand how Asian-Americans have been given the shaft by Hollywood.


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