Two men with Asian heritage are up for the best actor award for the first time in the movie’s history with their films, “Sound of Metal” and “Minari.”

There have been almost 20 years since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, and Sciences nominated an actor of Asian heritage for one of the prestigious awards of best actor.

In 93 years of the Academy Awards, this is the first year when there are two Asian nominees.

Steven Yeun, born in South Korea and raised in the United States for “Minari” and Riz Ahmed, a Brit of Pakistani descent for “Sound of Metal”. Yeun and Ahmed are both are nominated for the first time.

Although some Asian-led films have been released in recent years, including last year’s best picture winner, Parasite, the academy has not recognized Asian stars.

Just two actors from Asian heritage have ever been nominated for the award: Yul Brynner, born Russian “The King and I”, and Ben Kingsley, whose father is Indian “Gandhi,” “House of Sand and Fog”. Each of them won the award once.

They have strong competition from Chadwick Boseman “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, Anthony Hopkins “The Father”, and Gary Oldman “Mank”.

Yeun’s portrayal of a Korean immigrant father who moves his family to the Ozarks in “Minari” is effortlessly magnetic.

Ahmed won acclaim for his performance as a drummer who loses his hearing in “Sound of Metal,” which is an extraordinarily complicated sound design.

Although only four Asian men have ever been nominated for best actor, the situation is even direr for Asian women. So far, only one woman of Asian descent has ever been nominated for Oscar. Merle Oberon for the dramatic script “The Dark Angel” in 1935.

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