It’s gotten a bit out of hand in recent years. Last year, the Chinese director Chloé Zhao won the Oscar for her film Nomadland, in 2020 the South Korean film Parasite was the big winner with four statuettes. And then there was the global Netflix hit Squid Game from South Korea in 2021. The profit of Everything Everywhere All at Once feels like a breakthrough for people of Asian descent.
“For all the kids who look and look like me, this is a beacon of hope and possibility,” Yeoh said in her acceptance speech. “This is proof that big dreams can come true.” Ke Huy Quan, who plays Yeoh’s husband in the film, won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Actress Roosmarijn Wind is very happy with the Asian Oscar win. She was born in Seoul and became known as Luna in the youth series SpangaS. This year she can be seen in the movie Twins in Crime. Last year she made a series about hate against Asians: Hanky Panky Goodbye.
“It is so important that you watch TV as a child and recognize yourself. Otherwise you think you should not be there or that you are different. I hope that film people and directors here also think: why do we have so few Asian actors?”
Media and culture scientist at the UvA Reza Kartosen-Wong also thinks the Oscar win is hopeful. “There is a positive change. In PhD research I discovered that Dutch young people with an Asian background do not feel represented in Dutch media and culture. The lack of representation is a really big problem. You need role models to develop your self-image.”
White old men
According to director Tim Oliehoek (who made the series The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen and the film Vet Hard, among other things), Hollywood had to show much more diversity. “It was the domain of the white old men for far too long. This is the answer. It’s also an original film. Michelle Yeoh plays an immigrant making her own in the US. But she’s also a mother.”
And what about the Netherlands? Oliehoek: “The Golden Calf for best actor has recently become gender neutral. When I start casting myself, I think: nice that Wendy is described, but can it also be Souraya? We need to have a much more reflection of society.”
Roosmarijn Wind knows the problem all too well. “There is often typecasting: that you only get a part in a nail salon or a snack bar. Moroccans are cast as criminals. This is not only about acting, but also about what you grow up with and what you see. It’s so important .”
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