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Quick Oscar recapped, Kiriyama Book Award nominees announced, and no more Paul Kim three nights a week on prime time. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Asians at the Oscars
Another year of Academy Awards, and another year with Asian and Asian American talent in the film industry. Among the Asian-affiliated nominees were Ruby Yang’s The Blood of Yingzhou District about AIDS in China for Best Documentary Short Subject, Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower for Achievement in Costume Design, Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Babel, and several nominations for the US remake of the Hong Kong blockbuster Infernal Affairs, The Departed. Ruby Yang ended up walking away with the award; however, Zhang’s Tang dynasty period piece lost out to Sophia Coppola’s French period film, Marie Antoinette, and Rinko Kikuchi lost out to Dream Girl Jennifer Hudson. Meanwhile, The Departed won several awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. While some reference was made to the film’s Asian origin, notably through Scorsese’s recognition of Andy Lau’s performance in the original, the announcers incorrectly stated that the film was an adaptation from a Japanese film, not a Hong Kong one. As this year’s Oscars come to a close, we’ll just have to wait to see what new Asian and Asian American talent will be recognized next year.
Kiriyama Book Awards
The nominees for the 11th annual Kiriyama Prize have been announced. The award was set up to recognize books that help build understanding of and among the different countries in Asia. The $30,000 prize will be announced on March 27, with one non-fiction and one fiction recipient. The nominees include, for fiction, Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, Haruki Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, Ma Jian's Stick Out Your Tongue, Madeleine Thien's Certainty and Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Behold the Many. And for non-fiction: Abigail Friedman's The Haiku Apprentice, Ernest Hayes' Blonde Indian, Greg Mortenson's and David Oliver Relin's Three Cups of Tea, Ruth Padel's Tigers in Red Weather and John Pomfret's Chinese Lessons.
Yul is a Survivor
Since winning the million dollars of Survivor: Cook Islands, also known for its controversial initial racial segregation, Yul Kwon has certainly been busy. The “survivor” has already donated $50,000 of the Survivor winnings to the Asian American Donor Program, educating Asian Americans about donating bone marrow. He is also participating in the Bare Campaign, educating people on issues of poverty in Asia.
For more information, click here.
Speaking of Survivor…
The new season of Survivor has begun on CBS, located in Fiji. But aside from being located on a Pacific island, the show also featured four new Asian American contestants of different ages and backgrounds. The new contestants are college student Michelle Yi, program manager Mookie Lee, internet producer Stacy Kimball, UC Berkeley computer engineer Yau Man Chan, and the already-eliminated architect Sylvia Kwan. Who will be the next survivor? You’ll just have to wait and see.
Beau Sia’s Poem-Letter Appeal to Rosie
Poet Beau Sia, best known for his time with Def Poetry Jam on HBO, and his parody of singer-songwriter Jewel’s poetry book, A Knight in Shining Armor II: The Revenge, has issued a video open letter via Youtube to Rosie O’Donnell specifically, but also "Open Letter to All the Rosie O'Donnells" The poem is a specific reference to O’Donnell’s gaff on The View, where she offended Asian American groups. The poem is a thoughtful look at her transgression, and he urged her to apologize and to further educate herself on why her words hurt so many people. Without attacking her, Sia stayed positive and focused on explaining why Asians were offended. After its release, Rosie O’Donnell viewed the video, and responded on her online blog, effectively apologizing for her bit on The View.
Idle Idol Hopeful
On Tuesday, February 20, Paul Kim American Idol hopeful sang his last song on national television for the talent search show. In the early days of the competition, Kim, a resident of Saratoga, California, won over the critical Simon Cowell through his soulful renditions and smooth voice, a stark contrast to Asian America’s other notable American Idol contestant, William Hung. But in the end, America voted, and when the dust settled, Kim was eliminated from continuing onto further rounds.
Myspace Superstar Attempting to Enter the Music Industry
Model Tila Tequila, also known as Tila Nguyen, is attempting to break the music industry, releasing a single “I Love U” on February 27. The model gained notoriety as the most popular Myspace profile, and has used her online celebrity to debut in the Billboard singles charts at #91 -- all without the help of a record label.
Date Posted: 3/2/2007