How Prevalent Is “Whitewashing” in the Film Industry?

When Japanese-born actress Miyoshi Umeki won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1957 for her role in Sayonara, it was a landmark moment: Umeki had become the first and only Asian actress to win an Oscar. More than 60 years later, that hasn't changed. However, two Caucasian actresses have won Oscars for playing Asian characters. Luise Rainer won Best Actress for playing a Chinese farm wife in the 1937 film The Good Earth, while Linda Hunt took home Best Supporting Actress for portraying a Chinese-Australian man in 1982's The Year of Living Dangerously. In recent years, Hollywood has made attempts to remedy the fact that the vast majority of awards have historically gone to Caucasian entertainers, as underlined by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016. However, not a single actor or actress of Asian descent earned a nomination at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018.

Oscar highs and lows:

  • As of 2018, Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to have won a Best Director Oscar; only five women have ever been nominated for the award.

  • When Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American entertainer to win an Oscar in 1940, she was sitting at the very back of the room due to a strict policy of segregation.

  • Meryl Streep has earned more Oscar nods than any other actor or actress, with 21 nominations (and three wins), as of 2018.

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More Info: The Huffington Post

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