Friday, April 16

A List of Asians who Have Won Academy Awards

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Songwriter Robert (Bobby) Lopez, along with partner Kristen Anderson-Lopez, won the Oscar last night for Best Original Song for “Let It Go” from the hit animated feature Frozen. This makes Lopez the first Filipino American to win the Academy Award, but of course he’s not the first Asian to win. Here’s a list of other Asian winners of Hollywood’s highest honor:

Best Foreign Language Film:
Rashomon (Japan)

Best Foreign Language Film:
Gate of Hell (Japan)

Best Costume Design:
Sanzo Wada for Gate of Hell.
First Asian to win for Costume Design (color).

Best Cinematography:
James Wong Howe for The Rose Tattoo.
First Asian to win for Cinematography. Howe was nominated a record 10 times in this category.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (Japan).

Best Lead Actor:
Yul Brynner for The King and I.
Of Mongolian and Buryat descent, Brynner became the first Asian to win the Best Actor Award.

The King and I DOCTORMACRO Free 4

Best Supporting Actress:
Miyoshi Umeki for Sayonara.
The first Asian to win for Supporting Actress.

Best Cinematography:
James Wong Howe for Hud.
Howe’s second win in this category following The Rose Tattoo.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Dersu Uzala (Russia)
Japanese director Akira Kurosawa helmed this Siberian-set Russian film.

Best Film Editing:
Richard Chew for Star Wars.
First Asian to win for film editing. Shared with Paul Hirsch and Marcia Lucas. Was also nominated the previous year for editing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Best Lead Actor:
Ben Kingsley for Gandhi.
The first Best Actor of South Asian descent, Kingsley’s father was Indian from Kenya.

Best Costume Design:
Bhanu Athaiya for Gandhi.
Nominated with John Mollo, Athaiya is the first Indian to win the Oscar.

Best Supporting Actor:
Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields.
The first Asian to win for Supporting Actor. Also nominated in the same category that year was Pat Morita for The Karate Kid.


Best Costume Design:
Emi Wada for Ran.

Best Music (Original Score):
Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su for The Last Emperor.
First Asians to win for music. Shared award with David Bryne.

Honorary Academy Award:
Akira Kurosawa

Honorary Academy Award:
Satyajit Ray

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Steven Okazaki for Days of Waiting: The Life & Art of Estelle Ishigo.
First Asian to win Documentary Short Subject.

Best Costume Design:
Eiko Ishioka for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Ishioka also received two Tony Award nominations for designing the set and costumes for Offender DHH’s play M. Butterfly.


Best Visual Effects:
Doug Chiang for Death Becomes Her.
First Asian to win for Visual Effects. Shared award with Ken Ralston, Douglas Smythe and Tom Woodruff Jr.

Best Documentary Feature:
Freida Lee Mock for Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision.
First Asian to win for Documentary Feature. Shared award with Terry Sanders.

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Jessica Yu for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien.

Best Short Film (Live Action):
Chris Tashima for Visa and Virtues.
First Asian to win for Live Action Short Film. Shared award with Chris Donahue.

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Keiko Ibi for The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan)

Best Cinematography:
Peter Pau for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Best Art Direction:
Timmy Yip for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Best Music (Original Score):
Tan Dun for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.


Best Animated Feature:
Hayao Miyazaki for Spirited Away.
First Asian to win Animated Feature.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award:
Takuo Miyagishima

Best Director:
Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain.
The first Asian to win Best Director. His third directing nomination.

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Ruby Yang for The Blood of Yingzhou District.
Shared win with Thomas Lennon.

Best Music (Original Score):
A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire.
First Asian to win two Oscars in one year. Rahman was also nominated the following year for 127 Hours.

Best Music (Original Song)
A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire (“Jai Ho”).
First Asian winner in the Original Song category.

Best Sound Mixing:
Resul Pookutty for Slumdog Millionaire.
First Asian to win for Sound Mixing. Shared award with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke.

Best Foreign Language Film:
Departures (Japan).

Best Short Film (Animated):
Kunio Kato for La Maison En Petits Cubes.
First Asian to win Animated Short Film.

Best Short Film (Animated):
Shaun Tan for The Lost Thing.
Shared with Andrew Ruhemann.

Best Documentary Feature:
Audrey Marrs for Inside Job.
Shared with Charles H. Ferguson.

Best Foreign Language Film:
A Separation (Iran)

Best Documentary Short Subject:
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for Saving Face.
First Pakistani filmmaker nominated for an Oscar. Shared award with Daniel Junge.

Best Director:
Ang Lee for Life of Pi.
The second Best Director win for Ang Lee following Brokeback Mountain.

Best Music (Original Song):
Robert Lopez for Frozen (“Let It Go”).
First Filipino American to win an Oscar. Shared award with Kristen Anderson-Lopez.



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This entry was posted in Arty Farty and tagged , , , by Philip.