It's been nearly 20 years since a man of Asian heritage notched a best actor nomination from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. But this year, for the first time in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards , there are two: Steven Yeun ("Minari"), who was born in South Korea and raised in the United States, and Riz Ahmed ("Sound of Metal"), who is a Briton of Pakistani descent. Both Ahmed and Yeun are first-time nominees. Their inclusion is especially notable because despite a spate of Asian-led films in recent years, including last year's best picture winner, "Parasite," the academy had failed to recognize the performers. Just two actors of Asian heritage have ever been nominated in the category: The Russian-born Yul Brynner ("The King and I"), and Ben Kingsley ("Gandhi," "House of Sand and Fog"), whose father is Indian. Brynner and Kingsley each won the award once. Yeun and Ahmed have some tough competition: The other three nominees this year are Chadwick Boseman ("Ma Rainey's Black Bottom"), who won a posthumous Golden Globe for best actor in a drama, Anthony Hopkins ("The Father") and Gary Oldman ("Mank"). The New York Times's co-chief film critic A.O. Scott… Read full this story
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