After a long awards season, this year’s Oscars marked a pivotal moment for Asians working in the film industry. We have all the historical moments of the night and fan reactions!

Written by: Chloe Leung – April 26th, 2021 10:12 pm pst

This year’s Academy Awards saw a lot of historic firsts. After receiving a bit of backlash over the years for the lack of diversity among nominees, this year’s victories demonstrated the progress the Academy has made, as well as what more can be done in the upcoming years. The 93rd Oscars was the most diverse yet, with women and people of color gaining ground in lots of categories this year, including the major ones.

Chloé Zhao won Best Director at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday, making her only the 2nd woman to do so in the Academy’s 93-year history. She is also the first Asian woman to be nominated for, and win the Oscar for Best Director. Zhao’s Nomadland was the big winner on Sunday, taking home Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Actress, in addition to her directorial win. Zhao became the second Asian woman, after Parasite’s Kwak Sin-ae last year, to pick up an Academy Award for best picture. The director of Minari, Lee Isaac Chung, was also nominated in the category, making it the first time there were two Asian nominees in that race. Zhao and Chung’s films were each nominated for 6 Oscars.

Yuh-Jung Youn of Minari also made Oscar history, as the first Korean actress to be nominated for, and win an Academy Award in one of the four acting categories. Steven Yeun, also from Minari, was the first Asian American ever to be nominated for Best Actor. The successful award season run of both Nomadland and Minari was not just a win for Zhao, Chung, and all the talented Asian creatives involved, it was a win for the Asian community as a whole.

The victories of Asian filmmakers and actors was backed by love and support from fans on social media. Here are some of their reactions!

The victories of Asian filmmakers and actors at the Oscars this Sunday are symbolic, coming after the recent increase in racially motivated attacks on Asian Americans. While these victories prove to be progress made within the film industry, there is still a long way to go. Hollywood has had a troubling history due to the lack of Asian representation as well as the misrepresentation of Asian women in films. The wins of this year’s Oscars opens the door for visibility not just for Asians within the entertainment space, but in society as a whole. The outcome of this year’s Academy Awards brings forward a new level of recognition, and only time will tell whether the historic moment will lead to lasting change.

Chloe Leung is a senior Journalism student at Emerson College and an aspiring digital producer. She is an intern at Afterbuzz TV and a fanatic of all things entertainment, fashion, and pop culture.

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