Chu commented via email, “I absolutely loved ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and was thrilled to meet some of the crew at Vice President Harris’s Lunar New Year celebration this year. I’m crossing my fingers for Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and the entire cast and crew’s continued success this awards season. After the decades of discrimination faced by AAPI actors like Yeoh, Quan, and James Hong, who just turned 94, I’m also hopeful that the movie’s massive commercial and critical success clears the path for more authentic AAPI stories produced and AAPI actors hired in Hollywood and beyond.”
If you haven’t seen “EEAAO,” Pulitzer Prize finalist Kristina Wong, who is currently performing her one-woman show in Los Angeles, summarized the film as “the craziest immigrant story I’ve ever seen and yet it made sense because you come to this country and there are a million possibilities.”
The 44-year-old Wong, a performance artist, actor and elected representative of the Wilshire Center Subdistrict 5 Koreatown Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles, also thought: “Michelle Yeoh could go for Best Actress, the Oscars, which seemed crazy to say out loud.” Asian mothers are not usually the lead and are typically “portrayed overly earnestly” or as the punchline. Wong, who met Yeoh when they were both honored with the EWP Visionary Awards, added that Yeoh’s acclaim and rise shows “Asian women, we don’t just disappear and become character actors. We don’t turn 30 or 40 of 50 and just fade away. We can still share stories and people want to watch them.” Wong met Yeoh last year when both received the EWP Visionary Award.
Snehal Desai, artistic director of East West Players, the largest and longest running Asian-American theater, noted: “This recent recognition is great, much appreciated and long overdue. These are artists who have been doing this work for decades. We are glad for the visibility and recognition, but it really should not have taken this long.” In 1965, James Hong, who plays the grandfather in “EEAAO,” was one of nine founding members of EWP.
Academy Award-nominated documentarian, author and curator Arthur Dong has a more philosophical view. Dong didn’t view “Everything Everywhere” until awards season was underway, busy curating two programs, one of which took place at the Academy Museum.