“Let it Go” composer Robert Lopez (Filipino-American) writing a song for Neil Patrick Harris to perform at the Oscars

Frozen-songwriters

 Audrey Magazine:

Recognize Robert Lopez? Well you certainly should. Lopez was the very first Filipino American to win an Oscar during the 86th Academy Awards. If you don’t yet recognize his name, you’ll certainly recognize Lopez’s work. This songwriter took home an Oscar for composing Frozen’s “Let it Go” with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez.

His time with the Academy Awards is far from over it seems. He and his wife are now writing a song for Neil Patrick Harris to sing at upcoming Oscars.

Neil Patrick Harris revealed this news just a few days ago through his official Twitter account. He explained that while he wasn’t at liberty to say what the duo is planning, he can promise that it won’t be a song called “Let It O.”

Of course, an Oscar isn’t the only thing Lopez can boast about. He is also the first Filipino American to be part of the prestigious group known as EGOT. This group– which contains only 12 individuals such as Audrey Hepburn and Whoopi Goldberg –consists of individuals who have won the four top entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. Lopez has voiced that he hopes “Filipino artists everywhere take my example as proof that you don’t have to look a certain way for your dreams to come true. It just takes hard work, perseverance and some luck.”

Studio Ghibli’s “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” nominated for Academy Award

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RocketNews 24:

We’re just about a month away from the 87th Academy Awards presentation, and if you’re a general cinema fan, odds are you’ve been looking forward to the event. However, if the only thing that can make you take a trip to the theater is a screening of a Studio Ghibli anime, you might not have been expecting too much from the gala to be held at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater.

Ghibli’s newest film, When Marnie Was There, hasn’t been getting the sort of rave reviews of a Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke. Six months after its Japanese release, Marnie is mostly forgotten in its home country and still unreleased in North America, making it ineligible for this year’s Oscar race.

Thanks to the time lag caused by international distribution, though, Ghibli does have one film eligible for the upcoming academy awards, and it just cleared the first hurdle with the Academy announcing The Tale of Princess Kaguya as a nominee in the Best Animated Feature Category.

Although Kaguya premiered in Japanese theatres in late 2013, it wasn’t until the following year that it arrived in North America. Helmed by Isao Takahata, the director best known for heart-rending Word War II tragedy Grave of the Fireflies, Kaguya is based on the Japanese folktale often referred to in English as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

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Many of Kaguya’s elements will be familiar to viewers who’ve read or know the basic structure of the 10th century literary classic it draws from. Its visual style, though, is unprecedented, composed of subdued colors and vaguely sketched outlines that are in stark contrast to the ultra-polished look of most other Studio Ghibli films.

Also nominated for Best Animated Feature are Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Song of the Sea. Unlike Ghibli’s last shot at winning an Oscar, when Hayao Miyazaki’s swansong The Wind Rises got steamrolled by Frozen in 2014, none of Kaguya’s competitors completely set the world on fire (despite our growing infatuation with Big Hero 6’s Baymax). As such, what’s assumed by many to be Takahata’s final film has a fighting chance, although it will still have to overcome what seems to be a growing distaste in North America for non-CG animation.

▼ Since the establishment of the Best Animated Feature in 2001, Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is the sole hand-drawn film to win the award, and one of only two winners that weren’t computer animated.

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With Hayao Miyazaki retired from theatrical animation and having already received an honorary Oscar for his body of work, Marnie’s lukewarm reception, and the possible disbanding of Studio Ghibli as we know it, this may be the last opportunity for Japan’s most respected animation house to bring home the Academy’s highest honor. We’ll find out whether or not it did at the awards ceremony on February 22.

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BBC: Michelle Yeoh coming back for prequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

 

Michelle Yeoh

 

BBC: 

Titled The Green Destiny, the movie will see Michelle Yeoh reprise her role as female warrior Yu Shu Lien.

Pre-production is believed to have begun. Filming is due to start in Auckland, New Zealand, with two further weeks of shooting in China.

Yuen Woo-ping, who co-ordinated the action scenes in the original, will step behind the camera for the prequel.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains the most successful Chinese-language film of all time, making $213.5m (£127m) on its release in 2000.

It won the best foreign-language Oscar the following year, with three more awards in the technical categories.

Ang Lee accepts his Oscar in 2001Ang Lee won the first of three Oscars for the original

Part of the reason for the film’s success was that it operated on many different levels. It was a love story, a martial arts fantasy with a feminist twist and an historical epic set against a backdrop of spectacular locations in China.

Director Ang Lee also employed sophisticated technology that enabled the characters to perform gravity-defying stunts, drawing in fans of the previous year’s box office hit, The Matrix.

But plans for a prequel were delayed by a row over the film rights to Wang Du Lu‘s novels, on which the film was based.

Columbia Pictures claimed it had struck a deal with the late writer’s son in 2005. He denied this, and said he had signed an agreement with The Weinstein Company, another US studio.

With the case resolved, The Weinstein Company is pushing ahead with the prequel, choosing New Zealand as a location thanks to a generous production incentive that offers filmmakers a 20% rebate on money spent in the country.

The Green Destiny draws on the fifth book in Wang’s series, Silver Vase, Iron Night.

This introduces a new generation of star-crossed lovers, and a new series of antagonists in a battle of good and evil,” screenwriter John Fusco told movie website Deadline last year.

Although Fusco is known for US blockbusters such as Young Guns I and II, he also penned The Forbidden Kingdom for Jet Li and Jackie Chan in 2008.

The film, which drew on the writer’s own martial arts training, broke opening day box office records in China.

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Michelle Yeoh coming back for prequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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‘Frozen’ ballad wins for Best Song giving Robert Lopez, first Filipino American to win an Oscar, the EGOT

Congratulations to songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who won an Oscar for Best Original Song for “Let It Go,” the hit single from the animated feature Frozen, at Sunday night’s 86th Academy Awards. The big win apparently makes Lopez the first Filipino American to win an Oscar.

Robert Lopez became the latest member of the EGOT family, adding an Oscar to his three Tonys, two Emmys and a Grammy. Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, won the Best Song Oscar Sunday for “Let it Go,” the hit single from Disney’s animated feature “Frozen.”

The Lopezes delivered their thank-you’s by alternating their way down a list of names, stopping at one point to sing “Happy Oscar to you/Let’s do ‘Frozen 2’.” While a stage version of the musical film is in the works, Disney has not given a greenlight to a sequel.

The Original Song Oscar joins Lopez’s Tonys for “The Book of Mormon” and “Avenue Q,” his Emmys for Nickelodeon’s “The Wonder Pets” and the musical theater album Grammy for “Book of Mormon.” Richard Rodgers is the only other songwriter to win each of the trophies for composing; producer Scott Rudin was the last person to go for the cycle.

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‘Frozen’ ballad wins for Best Song giving Robert Lopez, first Filipino American to win an Oscar, the EGOT

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Anime News: Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” U.S. TV spots streamed

RocketNews 24:

The official channel for Hayao Miyazaki‘s final feature film, The Wind Rises began streaming two English television commercials on Monday.

Studio Ghibli International announced more screenings for The Wind Rises, on Sunday. The movie will open at limited screenings in North America on February 21, followed by wide release on February 28. It will open in Australia on February 27 and then in Britain on May 9.

The film is coming soon to Landmark Theaters across the United States including Kendall Square Cinema in Boston, Century Centre Cinema in Chicago, The Landmark in Los Angeles, Lagoon Cinema in Minneapolis, Sunshine Cinema in New York, Hillcrest Cinemas in San Diego, Embarcadero Center Cinema and California Theatre in San Francisco, Tivoli Theatre in St. Louis, and Bethesda Row Cinema in Washington D.C. It will also screen at the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles on February 21 and the Frank G. Wells Screening Room in Burbank, California on February 12.

The film played in New York and Los Angeles in November and in Santa Monica last month. Disney will release the film in North America, and Studio Ghibli International produced the English-language dub starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt with producer Frank Marshall (From Up On Poppy HillThe Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo).

Miyazaki’s film won the Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature Production on February 1. The film is nominated in the Academy AwardsBest Animated Film category.

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A-pop! Top 10 stories of 2013 : The best, and the best of the worst, of last year’s Asian pop media moments

With 2014 underway, it’s the perfect time to take a moment and reflect on 2013’s biggest hits and misses in pop culture. It’s been an interesting year, which saw Asian Americans breaking ground in new ways in pop media, as well as some spectacularly offensive moments from celebrities and teenagers alike. Let’s look back!

10. Kristen Kish of “Top Chef”

If you’re a reality show fanatic, then you may remember that chef Kristen Kish won this year’s season of the competitive cooking reality show “Top Chef.” Kish, who is a Korean American adoptee, was the first Asian American female winner on the show. Kish’s prize included $125,000, and she spent a portion of it on a trip to Korea to discover and connect with her homeland for the first time.

Kish’s run on “Top Chef” took place in Seattle, which featured episodes in numerous well-known restaurants in the Emerald City, making her tenure on the show and subsequent win more memorable for local viewers (and this column’s readers).

9. “Life of Pi” at the Academy Awards

Although the 2014 award season is just around the corner, I’d like to return to this past season and call out director Ang Lee’s win during the 85th Academy Awards earlier this year. Lee, who is Taiwanese American, took home an Oscar for Best Director for the adventure drama film “The Life of Pi.” Lee is also known for his directorial efforts on “Brokeback Mountain” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

In addition to Lee’s Oscar award, “The Life of Pi” was nominated for a total of 11 awards, and took home more Academy Awards than any other film nominated for 2013. The film also starred Indian actors Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, and Adil Hussain.

8. Katy Perry goes geisha

During this year’s American Music Awards, mega pop star Katy Perry performed her hit single “Unconditionally” live against a geisha-inspired backdrop, which included Perry and her backup dancers sporting kimonos, oil-paper umbrellas, and pale make-up.

Perry’s use of Oriental imagery was annoying because it continued to perpetuate the stereotype that Asian women make for submissive, docile, and doting lovers. The worst part is that Perry doesn’t seem to understand what is offensive about her use of these images. She saw the performance as an homage to Japanese culture. How typical.

Unfortunately, music award shows are hotbeds for offensive racial images and slurs. I don’t think this is a trend that will go away in 2014, but can we at least hope that some celebrities will have more awareness about these things?

7.  Clichés on “Dads”

Several media outlets and blogs reported on the blatant, racist humor found in the FOX sitcom “Dads.” The freshman sitcom, which features Asian American actresses Brenda Song and Vanessa Lachey as leads, generated controversy when the show’s pilot showcased Song appearing in a skimpy “Sailor Moon” outfit as a joke.

Although the controversy first came to light in September, the show survived its initial negative response, and has since been picked up for a full season. I’ve actually watched a few episodes of “Dads,” and I don’t find it funny or original at all. I’m surprised it has made it as far as it has. Still, 2014 has just begun — it’ll be interesting to see whether this show survives past its first season or not.

6. Hayao Miyazaki’s imminent retirement

Famed Japanese Academy Award-winning director and animator Hayao Miyazaki made waves in 2013 when he announced his imminent plans for retirement. Miyazaki, who has become synonymous with the Japanese anime industry, is revered for his acclaimed animated films, such as “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke,” and “Spirited Away.”

Miyazaki cited his need to rest among primary reasons for his retirement, as well as a desire to pursue other projects outside of animation. Though his retirement is not yet official, Miyazaki’s latest film “The Wind Rises” will see a limited U.S. release in early 2014, so his work is not disappearing from us quite yet!

5. Roger Ebert’s death

The world bid adieu to famed film critic and journalist Roger Ebert in April 2013, who passed away after an 11-year battle with cancer. Ebert is revered in Asian American cinema circles for his public defense of the indie film “Better Luck Tomorrow” at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. “Better Luck Tomorrow” was director Justin Lin’s debut film, and is considered a cult classic in independent Asian American film. Ebert’s public defense put the movie on the radar of major studios, and also widened the distribution of Asian American films to new audiences.

Ebert was a true supporter and friend to Asian American filmmakers, actors, and audiences alike, as he understood the importance for multifaceted representations of minorities in American media. Roger Ebert, you will be dearly missed.

4. Chinese food goes viral

One of the most popular YouTube videos in 2013 was the inane music video for “Chinese Food,” a pop song performed by unknown teenager Alison Gold. The video observes Gold craving and singing about Chinese food, which is illustrated through fellow teens dressed as geishas, cliché Oriental music, and an adult man in a panda suit. You know, just the usual hallmarks of Chinese cuisine and culture.

Apparently, mimicking geishas was a trendy choice in offensive Oriental imagery this year. I don’t think anybody actually enjoyed this song, but it was one of those ridiculous car wrecks that nobody could avert their eyes from, giving the song its unpredicted popularity. The song even charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and spawned a prequel music video that explains the origins of Gold’s love for Chinese food. Don’t watch it. Seriously.

3. Miss America: Nina Davuluri

America finally saw its first Asian American queen during the 2014 Miss America pageant when Indian American Nina Davuluri took home the title during this year’s competition. But despite the fact that Davuluri was born in America, detractors lambasted the pageant organization for awarding the crown to someone who allegedly wasn’t American, simply based on her race and skin color.

Davuluri brushed the negative commentary aside, however, and refocused the conversation on her then-future plans for her reign. Haters aside, Davuluri’s crowning is monumental because it’s not every day you get to see an Asian woman take home the crown in a mainstream beauty pageant. No matter your stance on beauty pageants, I think we can agree that representation in all facets of mass media is important.

2. Reflecting on the “Fast and the Furious” franchise

This year saw both happy and sad news from the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise. The sixth installment — titled “Fast & Furious 6” — is the most popular installment to date, and opened this past May amid much fan anticipation. “Fast & Furious 6” was also the third highest-grossing film worldwide in 2013.

Director Justin Lin was one of the franchise’s most prolific directors, having directed four installments of the films, including the recent sixth one. In 2013, Lin announced that he would no longer direct the films due to the demanding and overlapping production schedules of the sixth and seventh films. Director James Wan took over for the seventh film.

More recently, lead actor Paul Walker’s unexpected and tragic death sent the franchise’s future into question.

The seventh installment, which had been on a holiday break at the time of Walker’s death, was delayed for a few weeks to allow filmmakers to rework the script. The seventh film is currently slated for release in spring 2015.

1. High drama in hi-tech: Google gets scandalous

There was a point in 2013 where you couldn’t consume news online without catching a glimpse of the unfolding scandal out of Silicon Valley. In the midst of Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s divorce from former wife Anne Wojcicki, a rumor erupted that the power couple split when Brin began a new relationship with Google Glass marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg. Rosenberg is of Asian descent.

The scandal made such waves that celebrity magazine “People” even made it one of its cover stories, and published a photo of an Asian girl, who was mistakenly identified as Rosenberg. Their gaffe caused uproar in the media, which was made especially ironic given that magazine editors and interns could have, well, Googled and fact checked the photo to verify that it was actually one of Rosenberg.

Still, all the commotion from this high-profile love triangle makes this my top pop culture story for 2013. The tech industry never fails to surprise!

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A-pop! Top 10 stories of 2013 : The best, and the best of the worst, of last year’s Asian pop media moments

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Indian composer A.R. Rahman gets own street

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Renowned Indian composer A.R. Rahman, who took two Academy Awards for his work in Slumdog Millionaire, has another feather to add to his cap.

According to a report in the Times of India, Rahman now has a street named after him in Markham, Ontario, Canada.

Rahman posted a picture on Facebook of himself wearing a very cool coat and holding his street sign with the caption: “Welcome to my street!”

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Indian composer A.R. Rahman gets own street