With the success of movies like Everything Everywhere All at Once, Parasite and Crazy Rich Asians, actors, filmmakers and industry professionals of Asian origin are having a long-overdue moment in Hollywood. The Oscars too are finally recognising the immense talent of Asian actors and filmmakers, be it Bong Joon-ho winning the Academy Award for Best Director for Parasite, Chloe Zhao winning the same category a year later for Nomadland or veteran actress Yuh-Jung Youn winning Best Supporting Actress for Minari. Other Asian filmmakers, such as Ang Lee and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, have also been recognised by the Academy in the past.
Even at the upcoming Oscars, actors of Asian descent like Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu have each been nominated for their roles in the film Everything Everywhere All At Once. Hong Chau has also been nominated for her performance in The Whale while M. M. Keeravani and Chandrabose have been nominated for the smash-hit ‘Naatu Naatu‘.
With Asians making their presence felt on the awards circuit, there have been many Asian actors, directors and other industry professionals who have graced the Oscars red carpet in the past. So, with the 2023 Oscars just around the corner, let’s take a look at all the Asian celebrities who were showstoppers on the Oscars red carpet.
Asian men at the Oscars
Riz Ahmed, a British actor of Pakistani descent, has been a part of the Oscars red carpet on multiple occasions. In 2021, he was nominated for Best Actor for his role in the movie Sound of Metal at the 93rd Academy Awards. On the Oscars red carpet, he wore a black Prada suit and shirt, along with a white pocket square and black leather shoes. Coming to the accessories, he also added a diamond-encrusted safety pin to his ensemble, which he wore as a symbol of solidarity with marginalised communities. His wife, novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza, accompanied him and was wearing a stunning green gown. In 2022, Ahmed won an Oscar for the short film The Long Goodbye and went for an oversized maroon blazer and trousers along with a classic black t-shirt.
Dev Patel, the British actor of Indian origin, has attended the Oscars multiple times. He first attended the Oscars in 2009 as a cast member of Slumdog Millionaire, which swept the Oscars that year. In 2017, Patel was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Lion and arrived on the red carpet wearing a white Burberry tuxedo jacket with black pants. He was accompanied by his mother, who wore a traditional Indian saree.
In 2022, Simu Liu attended his first Academy Awards ceremony. The actor opted for a cherry red suit by Versace, which was paired with a crisp white shirt and a black bow tie that completed his entire look. The actor is best known for his role as Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
In 2016, Jackie Chan was awarded an Honorary Oscar for his extraordinary achievements in the film industry. The award was presented to him by actor Chris Tucker, his co-star in the Rush Hour movie franchise. Chan has appeared in several Hollywood movies, including Kung Fu Panda and The Karate Kid. He is known for his martial arts skills and for offering a unique blend of comedy and action in his movies. One of the most iconic figures in Asian cinema, Chan has been an ambassador for Chinese culture around the world.
At the 2019 Oscars, Henry Golding attended the ceremony looking absolutely dapper in a classic black tuxedo, flaunting a subtle and elegant red carpet look. Golding is known for his roles in Crazy Rich Asians, A Simple Favor, Last Christmas and The Gentlemen.
John Cho is a Korean American actor who has appeared in a variety of films and television shows. He first gained recognition for his role as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films. At the 2020 Oscars, the actor stunned on the red carpet with an Ermenegildo Zegna suit in an attractive shade of brown, which was paired with a black shirt and shoes.
Song Kang-ho, Bong Joon-Ho and Lee Sun-Kyun
At the 2020 Oscars, the men of Parasite’s cast, Song Kang-ho and Lee Sun-kyun alongside director Bong Joon-Ho, were seen in classic tuxedos on the red carpet. 2020 was a special year at the Oscars as Parasite made history by becoming the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Additionally, the film also won the Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film.
Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan
In 2009, Anil Kapoor attended his first Oscars as a cast member of Slumdog Millionaire and arrived on the red carpet wearing a black tuxedo. Considered to be one of India’s best actors, Kapoor has starred in multiple Bollywood and Hollywood movies in his long career and has been lauded for his versatile acting skills.
Like Kapoor and Patel, the late Irrfan Khan was also part of Slumdog Millionaire. At the 2009 Oscars red carpet, he too opted for a classic black tuxedo. Irrfan, who was considered by many to be the greatest actor of his generation, has also appeared in Hollywood blockbusters like The Amazing Spider-Man and Life of Pi.
Aamir Khan attended the 74th Academy Awards where his film Lagaan was nominated for Best Foreign Language film. Along with director Ashutosh Gowariker, the actor attended the red carpet and opted for a black sherwani with a dupatta. He has also been associated with movies that have been submitted to the Oscars in the past, including critically acclaimed movies like Taare Zameen Par and Rang De Basanti. Khan is considered to be one of the most talented and influential actors in Indian cinema.
A.R. Rahman won two Academy Awards for his work on Slumdog Millionaire. The musician attended the ceremony wearing an all-black Bandhgala, which was an ode to his Indian roots. He also went on to perform the song Jai Ho at the ceremony alongside singer-songwriter John Legend. Rahman has also been associated with other Hollywood movies like The Hundred-Foot Journey, Million Dollar Arm and Pele: Birth of a Legend. Considered one of the most influential music composers in the world, Rahman has been a prominent figure in promoting Indian music globally and has even collaborated with several international artists over the years.
Steven Yeun, an American actor of Korean descent, attended the 93rd Academy Awards as Best Actor nominee for his role in Minari. He arrived on the red carpet wearing a black suit and was accompanied by his wife. Minari was nominated for several Oscars that year, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress. Although the actor did not win the award for Best Actor, his nomination became a significant moment for Asian representation in Hollywood. Apart from the movie, he is also acclaimed for his work on The Walking Dead.
(Hero and feature image credit: Courtesy Instagram)