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  4. 2023 was a record-breaking year for Asian actors in the Academy. Here's a look back at the history of Asian acting nominees at the Oscars.

2023 was a record-breaking year for Asian actors in the Academy. Here's a look back at the history of Asian acting nominees at the Oscars.

2023 was a record-breaking year for Asian actors in the Academy. Here's a look back at the history of Asian acting nominees at the Oscars.
EntertainmentEntertainment1 min read
Yuh-Jung Youn, winner of Best Actress in a Supporting Role for "Minari."Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images
  • This year, four Asian actors were nominated in the main four acting categories.
  • Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu, and Hong Chau were nominated for notable performances.

Ben Kingsley is lauded as the first Asian winner for Best Actor for his role in "Gandhi" (1982). He went on to receive nominations for "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), "Bugsy" (1991), and "Sexy Beast" (2001).

Ben Kingsley is lauded as the first Asian winner for Best Actor for his role in "Gandhi" (1982). He went on to receive nominations for "House of Sand and Fog" (2003), "Bugsy" (1991), and "Sexy Beast" (2001).
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Born Krishna Pandit Bhanji, Kingsley grew up in Britain to an English mother and an Indian Gujrati father.

It took 38 years for another Asian actor to be nominated for Best Actor, when Riz Ahmed and Steven Yuen clinched the honor at the 2020 Academy Awards.

It took 38 years for another Asian actor to be nominated for Best Actor, when Riz Ahmed and Steven Yuen clinched the honor at the 2020 Academy Awards.
Riz Ahmed.      Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Riz Ahmed was recognized for his performance as heavy-metal drummer Ruben Stone in "The Sound of Metal" (2019).

Steven Yuen led the critically-acclaimed film "Minari" in 2020 with his nomination for Best Actor. He became the first Asian American nominee to be nominated for the award.

Steven Yuen led the critically-acclaimed film "Minari" in 2020 with his nomination for Best Actor. He became the first Asian American nominee to be nominated for the award.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

This year marks the most number of Oscar nominations for actors of Asian descent. Michelle Yeoh snagged a Best Actress nomination for her role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."

This year marks the most number of Oscar nominations for actors of Asian descent. Michelle Yeoh snagged a Best Actress nomination for her role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
Michelle Yeoh won the Golden Globe for Best Actress.      Invision

Yeoh already won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role as Evelyn Wang.

Before Michelle Yeoh, the last time an Asian actress was nominated by the Academy for Best Actress was in 1935. Eighty-eight years ago, Merle Oberon was nominated for her role as Kitty Vane in "The Dark Angel."

Before Michelle Yeoh, the last time an Asian actress was nominated by the Academy for Best Actress was in 1935. Eighty-eight years ago, Merle Oberon was nominated for her role as Kitty Vane in "The Dark Angel."
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Oberon's Asian heritage was not revealed publicly until 1983, four years after her death.

Sessue Hayakawa, famed Japanese silent film icon, became the first Asian man nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" in 1957.

Sessue Hayakawa, famed Japanese silent film icon, became the first Asian man nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" in 1957.
Sessue Hayakawa alongside Anna May Wong in "Daughter of the Dragon"      Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Mako Iwamatsu was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1966. He was recognized for his performance as Po-Han in "The Sand Pebbles."

Mako Iwamatsu was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 1966. He was recognized for his performance as Po-Han in "The Sand Pebbles."
REUTERS

Iwamatsu was a co-founder of the East West Players theater company, the nation's largest and longest running Asian American theater company.

Haing S. Ngor was a Cambodian American OB-GYN and actor. In 1984, he became the first and only Asian man to win Best Supporting Actor with his performance in "The Killing Fields."

Haing S. Ngor was a Cambodian American OB-GYN and actor. In 1984, he became the first and only Asian man to win Best Supporting Actor with his performance in "The Killing Fields."
ROB BOREN/Getty Images

For his role as Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" (1984), Pat Morita was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

For his role as Mr. Miyagi in "The Karate Kid" (1984), Pat Morita was nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Getty/Columbia Pictures

In 2003, Ken Watanabe was recognized by the Academy for his role as Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in "The Last Samurai."

In 2003, Ken Watanabe was recognized by the Academy for his role as Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in "The Last Samurai."
AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos

Following Ben Kingsley, Dev Patel became the second man of Indian descent to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2016 for his performance as Saroo Brierley in "Lion."

Following Ben Kingsley, Dev Patel became the second man of Indian descent to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in 2016 for his performance as Saroo Brierley in "Lion."
AP

This year, Ke Huy Quan is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."

This year, Ke Huy Quan is up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."
Ke Huy Quan at the engraving table at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards.      Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images

In 1957, Miyoshi Umeki made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated and win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Sayonara" (1957).

In 1957, Miyoshi Umeki made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated and win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Sayonara" (1957).
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Canadian American sisters Meg and Jennifer Tilly were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress for their roles in "Agnes of God" (1985) and "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994), respectively.

Canadian American sisters Meg and Jennifer Tilly were both nominated for Best Supporting Actress for their roles in "Agnes of God" (1985) and "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994), respectively.
Steve Granitz/Getty Images

Rinko Kikuchi was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for her role in "Babel."

Rinko Kikuchi was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2006 for her role in "Babel."
Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Hailee Steinfeld's role in 2010's "True Grit" earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress at the age of 14.

Hailee Steinfeld
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photobank/NBCU Photobank

Steinfeld has Filipino ancestry through her maternal grandfather.

Youn Yuh-jung became the second Asian actress and first Korean woman to win Best Supporting Actress in 2020. She played Soon-ja in the critically-acclaimed "Minari."

Youn Yuh-jung became the second Asian actress and first Korean woman to win Best Supporting Actress in 2020. She played Soon-ja in the critically-acclaimed "Minari."
South Korean actress Youn Yuh-jung attends the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022.      ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Stephanie Hsu is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once." In total, the movie earned 11 nominations.

Stephanie Hsu is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Everything Everywhere All At Once." In total, the movie earned 11 nominations.
Stephanie Hsu in "Everything Everywhere All At Once."      A24

Hong Chau is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Whale." This marks the first year two Asian actresses are nominated in the acting category.

Hong Chau is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Whale." This marks the first year two Asian actresses are nominated in the acting category.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty
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