Asians in Hollywood by Numbers

The Roar Meter is a weekly story in numbers.

  • Year the first feature length motion picture was released: 1906, The Story of the Kelly Gang, Australia
  • Year the first Asian-American actress was featured in an American motion picture: 1922, Anna May Wong
  • Reason given for Anna May Wong, one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses at the time and the only one of Chinese descent, being turned down for the lead role in The Good Earth, 1935: anti-miscegenation laws and a white leading man.
    • Year anti-miscegenation laws were struck down in the United States: 1967
  • First Asian-American ever nominated for an Academy Award: Merle Oberon, Best Actress, 1935
    • Year she revealed that she was of Indian descent: 1979
  • First Asian-American ever to win an Academy Award: Miyoshi Umeki, Best Supporting Actress, 1957
  • Most Oscars nominations ever received by a single Asian-American in any category: 10 (James Wong Howe, cinematographer)
    • He is also the first Asian to win multiple Academy Awards (two)
  • First American television broadcast: 1941
  • First television series starring an Asian-American: The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong
    • Dumont, 1951, starring Anna May Wong
  • Number of times popular Asian character Fu Manchu has been played by an Asian actor: 0
  • Rotten Tomatoes rating for Marvel’s Iron Fist, a series many argued should have an Asian lead, as of March 20: 17%

Annika Barranti Klein is a writer, knitter, women’s banked track roller derby referee, and radical homeschooling mother. Her work has appeared at The Toast, The Establishment, and on Book Riot. She is a cis, white, bi-furious intersectional feminist.


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