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Oscars See Historic Wins for Asians; Director Travon Free Shines Light on Racism, Police Brutality

HeadlineApr 26, 2021

In entertainment news, a scaled-down Oscars ceremony was held in Los Angeles Sunday evening, with some historic wins. Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman and only second woman ever to win the Academy Award for best director, for “Nomadland.” The film also won best picture. Yuh-jung Youn became the first Korean to win an acting Oscar for her role in “Minari.” Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor for his portrayal of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton in Shaka King’s “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe won best short film for “Two Distant Strangers,” which follows a Black man reliving his killing by a police officer over and over. The co-directors wore tuxedos with the names of Black victims of police violence emblazoned on their lining. Travon Free gave an emotional speech as he accepted his award.

Travon Free: “Today the police will kill three people, and tomorrow the police will kill three people, and the day after that the police will kill three people, because, on average, the police in America every day kill three people, which amounts to about a thousand people a year. And those people happen to disproportionately be Black people. And, you know, James Baldwin once said, 'The most despicable thing a person can be is indifferent to other people's pain.’ And so I just ask that you, please, not be indifferent. Please, don’t be indifferent to our pain.”

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