HomeBad Ass AsiansThe Oscars: More AAPI Appearances than Expected

The Oscars: More AAPI Appearances than Expected

Auli'i Carvalho Oscar Performance1
Auli’i Carvalho wasn’t fazed by one of the flags representing the moving ocean, brushed her hair as she was singing.

By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge

Sixteen-year-old Auli’i Cravalho showed how much a pro she is when a banner hit her in the head while singing How Far I’ll Go, which was nominated for Best Song for the Academy Awards.

Fortunately, the banner barely grazed her, slightly missing up her hair, but the Hawaiian American, who provided the voice for Moana in the animated film of the same name, kept on smiling and singing as if nothing happened.

The song didn’t win (the award went to City of Stars from La La Land), but the teenager’s performance and natural good looks was a breath of fresh air in an auditorium full of movie industry big wigs, big names, silicon implants, nose jobs and face lifts.

I loved the look she gave as she was receiving an ovation. It was a combination look of relief and “I-told-you-I-could-do-it.”

Auli'i Carvalho Oscar Performance2
Auli’i Carvalho wasn’t fazed by one of the flags representing the moving ocean, brushed her hair as she was singing.

The flag incident wasn’t the only goof-up on the show watched by millions across the globe. The biggest mistake occurred at the end of the show.

While naming the winner of the Best Picture, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly announced La La Land. Midway through the thank you speeches, it was announced that there was a mistake. The real winner was Moonlight. The La La Land crew was gracious in handing over their Oscars to the the Moonlight actors, director and producers.

It’s a good thing that I wasn’t playing the drinking game during the Oscars telecast last night. You know, every time an Asian appeared, drink a shot of scotch. With the number of Asian appearances, I might be so incapacitated that I wouldn’t be able to write this post.

Oscar 2017 Skit
Newlyweds Patrick and  Yulree were interviewed by emcee Jimmy Kimmel

Besides Auli’i, there was a surprising number of AAPI folks representing during the show than expected. It was as if the camera people were told to zoom in on people of color in order to  beat back #OscarsSoWhite that’s haunted the awards show the last two years: the wife of an awards winner; Patrick and Yulree, the anonymous honeymooning couple who were in a tour group that was surprised when they walked into the Oscar telecast and introduced to the star-filled audience and got to meet and shake hands with some of the biggest names in the movies.

Kimmel had fun with Yulree, who explained her name rhymed with jewelry. When her husband said his name was Patrick, Kimmel quipped, “now that’s a name.”
That didn’t sit well with some on social media.


Dwayne Johnson, looking dapper in his tux, introduced his Moana co-star, Auli’i Carvalho.



It was good to see Jackie Chan introduced and get some screen time and round of applause for wining an honorary Oscar in an earlier, separate ceremony.

Hailee Steinfeld
Filipino American Hailee Steinfeld looked stunning wearing a Ralph & Russo creation as she gave out the Oscars for best animated features with actor Gael Garcia Bernal. Zootopia beat out Moana.

John Cho was funny, Hailee Steinfeld was beautiful, Riz Ahmed looked like James Bond and Dev Patel looked at ease on stage as the AAPI actors introduced or presented awards.

Emcee Jimmy Kimmel found Sunny Pawar, the young star of Lion, in the audience. Sunny is so adorable, he continues to capture the hearts of Hollywood.

Then there were the four anonymous Chinese fans in a clip explaining (in a Chinese dialect) why they like the movies (perhaps a nod to the emerging audience in China).

Oscar fan 2017John Legend performed City of Stars, the Oscar-winning song from La La Land,  and wherever the singer performs, his wife, model Chrissy Teigen is not far away. The camera loves Teigen and often pans over to her as her husband sings.

Chrissy Teigen Oscar 2017
Chrissy Teigen, center, was found napping in the long, long awards show.

Unfortunately, someone got a picture of her (see below) during the awarding of the Best Actor category near the end of the show — which went to Casey Affleck’s work in Manchester — and posted it online. Uh … perhaps Teigen’s apparent slumber can best be explained by the fact that she was spotted making her way to the bar prior to the show.

More likely, though, as any mother to an infant can understand; sometimes the exhausting work of being a mother catches up to you at the most unexpected time.

All in all, it was a fairly enjoyable show. The goof-ups added a bit of unrehearsed action that added to the entertainment.

At least we didn’t have any anti-Asian jokes coming from Kimmel or any of the presenters. I think there was a pretty good blowback against those jokes that marred last year’s Oscar telecast and it shows the value of speaking out and the power of social media.

Let’s see: That would have been 13 shots of scotch, in case you’re counting. Enough to put anyone over.

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