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The 2008 Asian Excellence Awards at UCLA's Royce Hall was a fun spectacle of congratulations, entertainment, and laughs, sometimes unintentionally. Thank your parents!
At last year's Asian Excellence Awards, we asked everyone what it meant to be an "excellent Asian." This year, we realized that we still didn't know. Luckily Kenny G was there to save the day again. We love Kenny G.
Next year, maybe people will know what's nominated for Outstanding Film?
Asian Excellence Awards red carpet
April 23, 2008
Royce Hall, UCLA
Interviewed by Janice Jann and My Thanh Mac
Video edit by Oliver Chien
Highlights from the Asian Excellence Awards Show
by Lisa Leong
- A dance-off between co-hosts Carrie Ann Inaba and Bobby Lee kicks off the show. No surprise here, Bobby Lee gets half-naked and rubs his belly. Carrie Ann feels Bobby's belly. "It's like a baby's bottom!"
- Inaba vs. Lee turns into a dance-off between JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern, darlings of MTV-watching Asian Americans. Smart move, AXA.The balcony section (a.k.a. UCLA student section) cheers like crazy.
- Is-This-Scripted-or-Not? Moment #1: Roger Fan and Bai Ling descend the golden staircase to present the first award. Struggling to read the teleprompter, Bai Ling pretend-casually remarks that she, Roger, and everybody in the audience are Asian. Go us! Bai Ling keeps talking, "Actually, I'm from the moon." Seeing all these great Asian people on Earth, she "decided to drop in for a while."
Roger responds, "That's cool."
- Favorite Reality TV Star goes to JabbaWockeeZ. They get the biggest applause of the night. When the whole crew goes up to the stage, the one black member gives the acceptance speech.
- Is-This-Scripted-or-Not? Moment #2: Russell Peters' monologue is by far the funniest part of the night. After mocking the varying levels of cheapness among Indians, Chinese, and Jews, Peters suddenly shouts, "Congratulations to Lust, Caution for winning outstanding Asian film!" No clip montage, no may-I-have-the-envelope-please, Peters just throws his arms in the air and yells out the winner of the biggest award of the night.
- Carrie Ann Inaba has three outfit changes.
- So does Bobby Lee, if you count his b-boy tracksuit, black formal suit, and pink sari made by Russell Peters.
- About every ten minutes, someone on stage mentions JabbawockeeZ to get the crowd going. Example: "This a great night for Asians. JabbawockeeZ are here! Yeaahhh!"
- Two blasian actresses win: Sharon Leal wins outstanding film actress for This Christmas. Sonja Sohn wins supporting television actress for The Wire. Leal proves her Asian-ness by doing an impression of her mother's Pilipino accent. Her Mom's gonna love that. An emotional Sohn thanks the Asian community for embracing mixed-race people. Sohn credits her mom for teaching her Asian values: "Duty! Honor! Sacrifice!"
- Everyone thanks their Asian parents. Because Asian values (Duty! Honor! Sacrifice!) help you survive Hollywood. Being half-Asian or less helps too.
- Tia Carrere sings two songs off her album of Hawaiian ballads. Her deep, breathy voice transports the audience to beaches of Hawaii, where they all take a pleasant nap.
- Jabbawockeez! Yeaahhh!
- Quentin Tarantino and Vern Troyer ("Mini Me" from the Austin Powers movies) introduce Rob Schneider's joke award: The Half Asian Award. Tarantino yammers on for so long that Troyer goes and sits on the golden staircase. No one really notices.
- Schneider's acceptance speech is a stand-up monologue. "Wow, the Asian Excellence Awards has the same people as the All the Asians on TV Awards." [Laughter] "Being half-Jewish and half-Asian is like being in the perfect storm of small penises. [Silence]
- Steven Seagal presents... his beyond-orange tan. Seagal talks about how he was raised in Asia, and loves how people "raised in Asia" know how to thank their parents. Russell Peters calls out Seagal: "You're a white man who talks like a black man and does Asian martial arts. Man, you are America!" Either that, or Seagal is this year's Kenny G.
- Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube honored with Pioneer Award. Kristi Yamaguchi honored with Inspiration Award. They deserve it.
- Rex Lee delivers the best speech of the night. Genuinely grateful to win his second consecutive award for supporting television actor (Entourage), Lee says he is proud to play a gay Asian American character. Lee reveals that on last year's AXA red carpet, a reporter told Lee that he was playing a bad stereotype for Asian people, so he really "tried to make Lloyd as three-dimensional and human as possible." That's Asian excellence right there.
- Producers Welly Yang and Teddy Zee thank all the sponsors, including Comcast "for giving them life." They announce that the AZN network has shut down, but the Asian Excellence Awards will go on! Yes!
- Bobby Lee gives the last words: "Go forth and be Asian!" Will do, Bobby, will do.
Date Posted: 5/2/2008