And the nominess are … A monthly column about all things Asian in popular culture

By Ninette Cheng
Northwest Asian Weekly

The past month showed a lot of love to Asian stars. The Academy Award nominees include a number of Asians, the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition released its annual report card on television diversity, the NBA announced diversity nights, and Jay Chou starred in “The Green Hornet.”  On a less positive note, Padma Lakshmi has begun what looks to be an ugly custody battle with her ex.

The Academy’s 83rd annual list of nominees

The nominees for the 83rd annual Academy Awards were announced on Jan. 25, and a number of Asians made the cut. Notably, Hailee Steinfeld, who is part Filipina, has been nominated for her role in “True Grit.” At 14, Steinfeld joins a short list of child actors and actresses to be nominated for an Oscar.

There are also a few veterans who were nominated.

Chinese American director Ruby Yang has been nominated for a second Oscar (she won her first in 2006) for best documentary short for “The Warriors of Qiugang.” Indian Composer A.R. Rahman is also up for his second Oscar for best original song and score for “If I Rise” from “127 Hours.” Rahman’s first Oscar win was for “Slumdog Millionaire.”

Rounding out the group of Asians are Australian Shaun Tan, who is half Chinese, for best animated short for “The Lost Thing” and Filipino American  Matthew Libatique for Best Achievement in Cinematography for “Black Swan.”

Good luck to all the nominees this month!

Would Tiger Mom be happy with Bs and Cs? A report card for 2010 television

The Asian Pacific American Coalition released its report card on diversity for the 2009–2010 television season. The report card judged the four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) on how they promote Asian Americans. 2010 saw an increase of 33 to 37 major APA actors on prime time television. Reality show programming scored relatively high. Overall, the four networks scored Bs and Cs across the board. The only As were awarded to CBS and FOX for procurement and network commitment to diversity initiatives.

NBA hosts heritage nights, WSJ isn’t impressed

The NBA has reignited a decade-old tradition: heritage nights. In November, the Toronto Raptors hosted a Chinese night, with a Filipino night to follow in February.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has written, “It’s that time of year in the NBA: the deep winter slog when teams with losing records search far and wide for gimmicks to fill seats. That’s why many teams are drumming up ‘Heritage’ events, meant to court even the smallest émigré enclaves to NBA courts, and provide just a tad of buzz.”

Are you as jaded as the WSJ?

‘The Green Hornet’ opens on top at the box office

The highly anticipated “The Green Hornet,” featuring Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, opened on Jan. 14 to mixed reviews and on top at the box office at $34,000,000. had web surfers believing it truly did not know the difference between Asians. The movie website listed Jon Cho as Kato instead of Chou. Um … Jon Cho would be the actor in the “Harold and Kumar” films.

Good job, IMDB.

“The Green Hornet” was Chou’s premiere in American film. Despite the film’s success, Chou told The Associated Press that there will not be a second film any time soon.

“I will not do another Hollywood film, but rather go back to my music,” he said.

Padma Lakshmi engages in an ugly baby battle

Last year, I wrote that Lakshmi became pregnant by some medical miracle and that the baby daddy was a mystery. It’s been a few months since I wrote on this topic, but the story has sure made progress. It appears that, as suspected, venture capitalist Adam Dell (of Dell Computers) is not only the father, but now wants full custody. Dell was reportedly furious about the baby’s name (Krishna), and engaged in a four-hour argument with Lakshmi at the hospital following the birth. Dell supposedly filed for full custody on Jan. 26. It looks like a long court battle looms ahead. ♦

Ninette Cheng can be reached at

2 Responses to “And the nominess are … A monthly column about all things Asian in popular culture”

  1. refro says:

    Illustrator Shaun Tan is Australian, not American. (Chinese-Malaysian father, Anglo-Irish mother, born and raised in Perth).


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