“It is a pity the young Pi was not nominated There’s not much you can do. He’s an Indian actor and nobody knows him so he was easily overlooked.
With peer voting, people will vote for their friends or based on their impressions. He’s a newcomer and we often said he had never acted before—that’s a disadvantage to getting nominated. But I do think his performance was the purest performance.”
Taiwanese director Ang Lee noting Hollywood’s tendency to overlook Asian actors to a Chinese radio station. Ang Lee was disappointed that Suraj Sharma was not nominated for Best Actor for his performance in The Life of Pi. Lee added that he felt Irfan Khan should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and that Zhang Ziyi was not nominated either for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, nor were any actors nominated for Slumdog Millionaire.
What’s a guy gotta do to get an Oscar? Here’s some trivia about Sharma’s work on the film, from FirstPost.com.
- Sharma beat out 4,000 other applicants (Ang Lee decided from the start the role would not be whitewashed.)
- Sharma had never acted prior to this so Ang Lee assigned him a pile of homework and made him act scenes from Teneesse Williams and other playwrights just for practice.
- Sharma didn’t know how to swim when he was cast for the role. When he first started out he could only hold his breath for 14 seconds. In the end he was able to go for one minute and a half.
- Sharma spent most of the movie filming in a pool emoting in front of a blue screen to an invisible tiger.
- Sharma lost 20% of his body weight for the role, eating a diet that mostly consisted of tuna fish, just like his character, so his ribs would show.
- Sharma cut himself up frequently while working on the boat and used those injuries in his acting. He would allow himself to get flipped along with the boat.
- The production was banned from speaking to Sharma. Ang Lee and Sharma agreed that he would not to talk to other people for almost two months so he would understand what isolation was like.
1. This kid is badass.
2. When white actors like Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio do stuff like lose 20% of their body weight or cut themselves and keep acting everyone cheers uproariously.
3. It is weirdly dismissive when films about characters of color get nominated but their actors do not. Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Last Emperor, etc.
4. As FirstPost points out, a lot of the Oscar snubbed actors that people are talking about like Leonardo DiCaprio have plenty of other opportunities to star in other big movies. When is the next big project for an actor of South Asian descent coming up?
Dark Girls is a documentary that speaks to the experience of colourism for Black women with dark complexions. This is the trailer that was released a couple of years ago, and it will air on OWN Network on June 23, 2013 at 10:00pm and again at 2:00am on Monday June 24, 2013. I haven’t seen the film so I cannot offer any opinions or criticisms on it, but from the trailer, I can see that it will be complicated and painful, albeit important. Hopefully the film will convey nuance and historical perspectives, as obviously colourism is not arbitrary pathology. Nothing is, actually.
I’ve been waiting for a way to see this.
The wait is over and the calendar is marked.
I’m straight up jealous of everyone that doesn’t have to think about racism. I can only imagine how free they are. I’d like a life that didn’t involve me mourning young men I’ve never met as martyrs. There are people who can say, without laughing, that the election of the nation’s first black president means that racism, as a defining factor of American life, is over. I envy those people who are able to look at President Obama and see only progress. Like many, I was overcome with emotion I still can’t quite define that night in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected. But the thrill is gone and in the aftermath all I can see is Sean, Oscar and Trayvon standing behind him asking everyone ‘when does this end?’
Critics’ Reactions to the Final Season 3 Scene in Game of Thrones
Surfed Google News looking for what reviewers thought about the White Lady Jesus scene.
“It’s kind of weird that the show decides to rely on the slightly racist, definitely cliche stereotype of hordes of adoring brown slaves worshipping their white liberator.” - Kate Walsh, Indiewire
“…the messianic tint to Danaerys’ brief appearance takes on a weirdly racist and pro-colonial overtone (look at those poor, dark savages and how much they love their blond savior!)” - Todd Brown, Twitchfilm
“…her being surrounded by a worshipful mass of people she’s saved who are decidedly, er, browner than her is really frakking weird. I’m not saying there’s malicious, racist intent or anything, and some of the slaves are probably just tanned white people. But as an image, I found it really offputting.” - Rebecca Pahle, The Mary Sue
“I think we’re supposed to feel tense and apprehensive awaiting their response to her setting them free, but I’m just kind of bored. No surprise – they accept her, calling her “mother.” She crowd surfs while her dragons fly above the crowd. Also, she’s very white and all the slaves definitely aren’t and so maybe this is racist? I’d call for discussion but this is the internet so better not.” - Dr. Improbable, The OutHousers
“During Game of Thrones‘ first season, the show faced criticism that it was racially… not super sensitive when it came to portraying the Dothraki, who were largely treated as Klingons noble savages…Now, Dany has become a straight-up conqueror—an outsider who swoops in with her dragons and eunuchs to show other societies how they’re doing things wrong. Which is where things start to feel a little dodgy: The final shots of this season were supposed to be rousing, but they felt weird.
There was Dany, seriously the Whitest Woman Ever, crowd-surfing on a bunch of heretofore unseen and uncharacterized brown people, all of whom had been enslaved and helpless before she showed up? And they’re lovingly calling her “Mother”?” - Erik Henriksen, Wired.com
“Yes, this is problematic. The optics on this scene are really bad, which I can see you have noticed, because you have eyes. Problem one is that there aren’t very many people of color people on this show to begin with, and problem two is that when there are, they tend to be acting out “tribal” stereotypes and/or cast in the role of slaves. And this final scene featured largest crowd of brown faces we’ve ever seen, lifting the world’s blondest woman up as their messiah and praising her for saving them from bondage. It’s like George W. Bush’s secret fantasy of how he thought the invasion of Iraq would go for him (including the blond wig).
“If you’ve never heard of the White Savior phenomenon in media, wherein a fictional white outsider appears to heroically save fictional people of color from problems they can’t solve on their own, there’s more information here. Or you can just take a screenshot at any point in the last minute of the show, since it’s pretty much textbook. And that’s another problem, while we’re counting problems: I feel like I’ve seen this trope so many times before that it feels emotionally flat and boring, especially in comparison to her astonishingly badass siege of Astapor.” - Laura Hudson, Wired.com
“Also, I can’t even express how uncomfortable her last scene (the last scene of the season) made me feel. This show has always had issues with race and unfortunately, by having hundreds of faceless brown people lifting up a young, white blonde woman and calling her “mother,” showrunners are far from correcting them. It was Greyworm (and friends) who liberated the city. Can’t he get some love?”- Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.com
The Khaleesi of previous seasons, and even previous season three episodes, seemed to care little for titles that others were so eager to attach to her. But it’s that blissful smile, that obvious Christ pose while being hoisted above the crowd, her blonde hair and pearly whiteness shining upon a sea of trodden-upon brown people that lead one to wonder if all this savior stuff is finally going to her head. - Gabriel Ruzin, Screen Invasion
“The final image is still that of a white woman being embraced by the poor slaves she set free, and on a show that has been validly criticized for its lack of diversity in its main cast, ending a season with that scene was a questionable choice. We understand why the writers thought it was a good direction to go — viewers needed some real hope after the Red Wedding — but there were probably ways to direct it that would have taken the sting out of the visual.” - Rebecca Martin, Wetpaint
“So, um, did anyone else think it was a little weird to have a bunch of dusky brown people reaching out to the blonde white lady and proclaiming her their savior? Dany’s crusade to free slaves and whatnot is admirable, sure, but that scene seemed to say “Hooray! The nice white lady saved us!” Kinda got a weird vibe. Was anyone else made ever so slightly uncomfortable?” - Joe Streckert, Portland Mercury
It’s an image that many commentators found troubling, given Game of Thrones‘ overwhelming whiteness, and the presentation of many non-white people as barbarians, deceptive slavers, or mindless slaves. - Alyssa Rosenberg, Think Progress
“And not to end on a sour note — because I did think “Mhysa” was a tight, elegant episode — but did anyone else watch the final scene outside Yunkai and think, ‘Hmmm, am I really looking at a pretty white lady being worshiped by thousands upon thousands of adoring brown people?’” - Nina Shen Rastogi, New York Magazine
“The show’s previously been careful to maintain a heterogeneous look for most of the cultures Daenerys encounters in her travels through the eastern continent of Essos, so the uniformly brown skin tone of the freed slaves worshipping the blondest possible savior figure was surprising and disconcerting – doubly so since, in the books, much is made of just how many different kinds of people had been forced into slavery by Yunkai and then freed by Dany when she took the city. This uncomfortable contrast kneecapped what could otherwise have been the most purely uplifting and cathartic moment in the series so far. Plus it gave the episode its title and was, you know, the final shot of the season – a rough one to go out on. “ Sean T. Collins, Rolling Stone
Yes by some weird quirk….Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Shackles/Chains, Queen of Meereen, Princess of Dragonstone, Mother of Dragons….has become the Harriet Tubman of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros….I don’t hate it…but it is a peculiar quirk in a world running over with quirks.
Kerry Washington repping as the only WoC in THR's TV Actress Roundtable
- The Hollywood Reporter: What's your worst audition?
- Connie Britton: "We just didn't get you."
- Anna Gunn: "We just didn't respond to you."
- Monica Potter: I'd just had my last kid..I was pushing like 180 pounds at the time. I'm like, "You guys, I just don't feel physically fit yet." I had my Spanx on and looked like a damn sausage, but I went in and thought I did a really good job. I got home and get the call from my agents. I'm like, "I did good, right?" And they say, "You did great. The problem is you're just …" "I'm too fat." "Yeah, we're just going to wait a little bit." I said, "I already told you this!" The weight thing is a crappy thing in this town, you know?
- Elizabeth Moss: On the first season of "Mad Men," I had to wear a fat suit and prosthetic makeup to make me look bigger.... We all have this perception of what we're supposed to look like. But that's what's so great about all these women here today: We're all completely different-looking, you know? We're all beautiful, but real women.
- Connie Britton: I agree. I've never had somebody say to me that I needed to look a certain way for a role, but I've always lived in dread of what that would be like. It's our responsibility to play these full-fledged women, and to play women who look like people we actually see in life. It's more interesting, and I think audiences appreciate it, too.
- Kerry Washington: It's a little bit different for me because I'll audition for something and they'll just decide that they're not going "ethnic" with a character, which I hear a lot.
- The Hollywood Reporter: Casting directors still use the word "ethnic"?
- Kerry Washington: If not "black," then yeah. People have artistic license … that's what casting is: fitting the right look to the right character. Whereas you could maybe lose some weight, there's not really anything I can do, nor would I want to, about being black.
What I recall from the Harold and Kumar movies is my struggle with the advertisers. There was all this racial humor in the movie, and the advertising department wanted to say “Starring the Asian guy in American Pie, and the Indian guy from Van Wilder…” and they did go with that, and they submitted that to me for approval, and I said, “I don’t like it.” They asked me why, and I explained it to them, and that was tricky because it’s difficult explaining to my own representatives why that didn’t jibe with me, because everyone kind of felt like it was keeping in tone with the movie. And I said, “I don’t like it. We’re poking fun at racism in the movie all the time, but it puts the audience on the wrong side of the racism joke.” So they were playing with the wording a little bit in the edits, and they kept coming up with versions to make me happy, but they were essentially the same thing. I finally said, “You are not going to make me happy. You’re dancing around it, and you’re clearly attached to this idea, and I want you to know that no version of this idea will make me happy. And if you’re afraid that I won’t show up to do promotion because of this bitterness, you can rest assured that that’s not true. I consider promoting a movie part of my duties, and I will show up nevertheless. But you can either use this campaign and know that I’m unhappy, or you can change it and know that I’m happy. That’s it. Stop trying.” And eventually they went with it, and it’s one of those things where I look back and I’m very proud of the movie, but that’s the thing I remember.
John Cho, in a great, long-read 2009 interview on the UCLA Asia Institute’s Asia Pacific Arts website. Thanks to radiophile for the link.
This quote strikes me as particularly relevant in the aftermath of the STID press tour and John’s comments. He’s always thinking about the portrayal of race in media and culture because it hits home. And he’s a total BAMF for consistently pointing out when people get it wrong.
#having trouble publishing asks
Thanks again so much for the conscientious response. It really put a lot of my underlying concerns into words and I am really sorry if I offended you. Thanks again for being able to verbalize what I just felt uncomfortable with but…
When I was a kid, you know I immigrated to the States in 1978, and I’m six years old and watching TV and I didn’t see any Asians on television. And you turn on Star Trek and there’s this Asian guy not chopping anybody up. He’s honorable, a helmsman of a spaceship, and it was a big, big deal for me to see that and have a role model.
John Cho (x)
The only Asians I remember seeing on mainstream TV when I was a kid were Sulu on Star Trek, nameless Asians loading trucks in the background or dying on MASH (which was all about funny lovable white US Americans waging war on Asians), and the “ancient Chinese secret” Calgon laundry detergent commercial.
Was the same when I was a kid. That moment of seeing George Takei not being overly-stereotyped when I was a kid was a powerful one. I think the only place I had really seen other Asians on the screen was finding the rare (because I was a kid in mountains, far from the rest of the community) movie that had Asians in it. Unfortunately, a lot of those were the “white guy learns martial arts, beats up Asians because ‘Merika” type movies. Which, of course was not TV. They were still the “Asian other” just as in MASH backdrops. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that Sulu always has a special place in my heart. Star Trek helped me get through some bad emotional spaces as a kid, and I think part of what made it welcoming was having POC, especially George Takei ( since I’m JA too, and the other Asian American actors who came later), represented on screen in positive and whole characters, with names instead of “Solider #1, Henchman #4, Ninja #18”.
(Proper) representation matters.
Wayne Brady calls “bullshit” on Bill Maher.
I would be happy if anyone beat Maher’s ass in public, but especially so if it were Wayne Brady
and more context from the article:
Maher first explained his desire for Obama to be a “real black president” who “lifts up his shirt so they can see the gun in his pants” during a monologue in 2010. Subsequently, Maher referred to Obama as “your Wayne Brady,” a characterization that put into question the African-American credentials of both Obama and Brady.
“I’ve respected him as a comedian, and what he does on HBO is great,” Brady told Hill. “But when he starts to drag me in, to use me as the cultural linchpin of his not-black-enough argument, that’s bullshit.”