To judge from Hollywood’s recent history, it is not far from the truth that Sandra Oh is a phenomenal woman who has made her mark on the acting scene in the very competitive environment of Hollywood. Being an actress of Asian origin, one can only imagine the work she has had to put in to make her voice heard. The fascinating series, Grey’s Anatomy, and her role therein awarded her with her first Golden Globe honor. Appearing in Killing Eve showed off her fantastic acting skills and this resulted in another set of Golden Globe awards. Ultimately, she is now part of history as the only woman of Asian decent to win multiple Golden Globes awards.
Oh’s achievements seemed to be at its peak as she was designated as the host of the 2019 edition of the Golden Globe, an achievement which is, no doubt, a big feather in her cap, especially as she can now be regarded as the first woman of Asian background to be the host of the Golden Globe award ceremony.
This feat is not one to be quickly forgotten and, as consequential as the award ceremony is, it is safe to say that it takes a rigorous and meticulous process to confer the role of host for any star. And this star definitely used the memorable night and her role of host to her advantage, as she passed across an important message.
Nevertheless, what was more interesting about the night wasn’t just the role of host that Oh played, but the spontaneous response she got for a subliminal joke that she made. The Grey’s Anatomy star made a comment that centered on Hollywood’s controversial actions of “whitewashing”- a popular practice in Hollywood in which white actors and actresses are cast as people of other cultures and given roles that are for non-white actors and actresses.
At a point in the historic night, Sandra Oh commented that the culturally significant movie, Crazy Rich Asians, was the first movie that featured an Asian lead character. She is remembered as literally saying, “Crazy Rich Asians is the first studio film with an Asian lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha.” In truth, this comment was more of a jab than a joke, especially as it was directed at Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone who respectively played the lead roles in Ghost in the Shell and Aloha, but were cast as Asians, thereby promoting the culture of “whitewashing” in Hollywood. Emma Stone was cast as Allison Ng in Aloha, a character whose origin is a mix of Asian and Hawaiian.
Upon hearing this disguised comment from the host, Emma Stone yelled ostensibly from the crowd, making it known that she was “sorry.” This was not the first time she has had to apologize. For many at the event, this was a bold outburst from the actress who isn’t shy to admit a wrong. Actresses like her, from the accusations they have received, seem to be in the process of understanding just how inappropriate and controversially sensitive the practice of “whitewashing” is.