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3 Lessons To Learn From The Asian Wins At The 2023 Oscars

Let us eliminate the age factor while looking at one’s potential or capability. If grit and determination define a personality, then one is never too late nor too old to miss the bus.

I was gushing over in excitement as Deepika Padukone, in classic elegance, took to the stage on Oscars night and introduced Naatu Naatu to the audience at Dolby theater. I was thrilled, not simply because she is an Indian making her appearance on a prestigious platform. She is also one of my favorite actors from the Hindi film industry.

Oscars 2023, like any other year, was a spectacular event, and it was indeed a phenomenal night for Asian representation. The joyous moments rose to the brim as we had our firsts coming in.

Here’s a recap of the Asian wins for Oscar

  • The Elephant Whisperers , directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga, won the Best Documentary Short, being the first Indian film to win an Oscar in that category.
  • “Naatu Naatu”, composed by M.M. Keeravani and given lyrics by Chandrabose, fetched an award for the Best Original Song. RRR now has its name inscribed on the scroll of honor for being the first feature film from an Indian production to win an Oscar.
  • With her role as Evelyn Queen in Everything Everywhere All At Once, Michelle Yeoh took home the Best Actress award. She is the first person of Asian descent to win in any acting category.
  • Among the seven awards bestowed on Everything Everywhere All At Once was the Best Supporting Actor award for Ke Huy Quan. Like Yeoh, he became the first actor to receive an Oscar for portraying a native speaker of Mandarin and Cantonese.

Every nomination and every win need to be celebrated. It is no ordinary feat to make it to the Oscars list. But let’s also look beyond the celebrations, the rejoicing, and the accolades. Since we have been talking a lot about Asia’s glory at the awards, I focused on the lessons that we could possibly learn from these wins!

Let’s believe in the power of women. They can do it!

We cannot choose to ignore the fact that although woman filmmakers have made inroads and have shown their talent, the industry is male-dominated. It is time to get out of the mindset that it is only men who can produce a superior quality of work.

The victory of Guneet Mongra and director Kartiki Gonsalves rings the message loud. In her acceptance speech, Mongra said:

“This is historic. First Oscar for any Indian production. Two women here won this. 1.4 billion Indians, this is for you. To all the women – the future is audacious, the future is us, and the future is here.”

India needs more woman filmmakers to take the plunge, and our society needs to support and encourage them in their journey ahead.

Ageism needs to be wiped out!

Gendered ageism has more commonly hit women in their forties and beyond, and that has threatened women’s confidence, professional growth, and emotional well-being. Often we have heard statements like “you are too old to do that or learn that”.

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Can we put these comments to rest? Let us eliminate the age factor while looking at one’s potential or capability. If grit and determination define a personality, then one is never too late nor too old to miss the bus.

Michelle Yeoh, hitting the glorious age of sixty, set that example on Sunday night. She was so inspiring with her shout-out to women: “And ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime. Never give up.”

Persistence triumphs against all odds

Ke Huy Quan’s Hollywood experience has been pretty dramatic. With his transition from a successful child actor to an adult, roles stopped coming in. He had to wait for more than 30 years to make his mark again on the silver screen.

Humility graced the actor from Vietnam as he remembered his roots and poignantly recounted his hardship: “My journey started on a boat. I spent a year in a refugee camp, and somehow, I ended up here, on Hollywood’s biggest stage. They say stories like this only happen in the movies. I cannot believe this is happening to me. This is the American Dream.”

If Quan’s story is not a testament to the power of patience and perseverance, I don’t know what else is!

These moments from the Asian wins of this year’s Oscars were truly enlightening. I felt that there were lessons to learn and reasons to be encouraged!

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About the Author

Rashmi Bora Das

Rashmi Bora Das is a freelance writer settled in the suburbs of Atlanta. She has a master’s degree in English from India, and a second master’s in Public Administration from the University of read more...

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