There is still a lack of lead roles in movies for Asian actresses, and if you were to ask anyone to name at least 10 who were slated to appear in a feature film in 2017, they would most likely be played by White women.
The Los Angeles Times continued to expose their readers to that notion when they published a cover for The Envelope section, featuring only White women.
The Envelope brings together leading Oscar contenders — Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Kate Winslet, and Jessica Chastain — to discuss their roles and the film industry.
Chastain, who is nominated for a slew of awards for her leading role in “Molly’s Game,” spoke out against the lack of diversity in movies this year, tweeting:
Its a sad look that there’s no WOC in this pic of us promoting our female lead films. The industry needs to become more inclusive in its storytelling. What were your favorite WOC lead films this year? I LOVED @salmahayek in #BeatriceAtDinner https://t.co/tzoijwy88q
— Jessica Chastain (@jes_chastain) December 24, 2017
While some Twitter users backed the “Zero Dark Thirty” actress, pointing out that the LA Times should be the one to blame, others called her out for not speaking up and participating in the photoshoot.
Honestly @jes_chastain as an outspoken voice for equality how do you pose for a photo like this and not feel absolutely mortified by the blatant exclusion? How is it possible to not understand the msg this photo sends? pic.twitter.com/nb8caRfVL6
— Rebecca Carroll (@rebel19) December 22, 2017
Chastain added that it’s a shame that she “can’t think of at least 5 female lead films with woc this year.”
Well, here are five Asian and Asian-American actresses who are not Scarlett Johansson and who kicked ass in leading roles this year:
1. Ahn Seo-hyun’s breakthrough performance as Mija in Netflix’s “Okja”.
2. Kelly Marie Tran, who is living her best life fighting the First Order as Rose Tico in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”.
3. Marsha Timothy stars in the Indonesian drama “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” which was filmed at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and Variety calls “the first Satay Western” with a strong feminist message.
4. Celina Jade turned out to be “Wolf Warrior 2’s” “biggest champion,” and the film almost broke box office record in China with half a billion dollars.
5. “Fits and Starts” features Greta Lee, who plays a successful writer married to Wyatt Cenac’s character David. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lee and Cenac “deliver the necessary X factor with effortless, angstful charm.”
See Jessica? We found five for you. You’re welcome!
And as for the LA Times…do better.
Who was your favorite lead Asian actress this year? Let us know in the comments!