For a lot of, receiving an Oscar nomination is an an overwhelmingly emotional expertise that validates their total profession. However possibly not for Hong Chau. In an interview with The Impartial, Chau stated that she feels “nothing” after receiving her first Oscar nomination for her function in Darren Aronofsky‘s The Whale this yr: “If I might be fully sincere, it’s extra like, ‘Oh expensive.'”
Chau has truthful cause to be disillusioned with awards season. Her first bout with awards buzz got here after breaking by way of as Ngoc Lan in 2017’s Downsizing, reverse Matt Damon. Chau remembers everybody telling her she that she was a shoo-in for a nod for her efficiency as a disabled Vietnamese political activist turned cleaner. However regardless of being acknowledged on the Critic’s Selection Awards, the Golden Globes, and the SAG Awards, Chau was snubbed by the Academy Awards, with Phantom Thread‘s Leslie Manville swooping in to nab the slot occupied by Chau for many of awards season.
“In fact, it didn’t occur,” Chau stated. “I stated to myself, ‘I don’t ever need to undergo this once more’. So now, when individuals ask the way it feels to be nominated, it’s unusual. I actually really feel nothing. If I might be fully sincere, it’s extra like, ‘Oh expensive’.”
Chau’s apathy in direction of awards might also stem from her historical past of engaged on initiatives that obtain greater than their justifiable share of criticism. She remembers the extraordinary backlash she received for Downsizing, with critics calling her character’s thick Vietnamese accent “a hate crime” and an “icky, racist caricature.” Chau defends Ngoc Lan and her accent selections, calling the criticism “so off base” and suggesting that lots of the individuals “who had been actually harping on the accent” got here “from a extra privileged background.”
“No one went and requested what the women who work on the nail salon [thought about it], or the individuals who labored within the kitchens of all of those eating places,” stated Chau, a daughter of working class Vietnamese immigrants. “Any time you’re getting an opinion about Asian People, it’s normally coming from a really rich, educated Asian one who has a really totally different background from what I grew up with. So I’m at all times going to be on the aspect of the Asian working class and the poor, and never a lot, , the Asian one who went to Harvard.”
Like Downsizing, The Whale additionally has its loud naysayers. Critics of the movie, which stars Brendan Fraser as a morbidly overweight man within the final days of his life and Chau as his caretaker, have referred to as it out for perceived fatphobia, with GQ saying the film “a dangerous physique horror shocker” and The Guardian calling it “crassly fatphobic.” (VF’s personal Richard Lawson agreed, saying the movie peddles “a form of leering horror.”) In her interview with the Impartial, Chau says that Arronofsky took nice pains to be as delicate in regards to the matter as attainable, consulting a “assume tank of specialists” together with the Weight problems Motion Coalition about particular moments within the movie. “We all know on our finish how we felt about it,” says Chau concerning The Whale. “However I feel it doesn’t harm to additionally take heed to individuals who’ve been pissed off with [Hollywood’s] depiction of weight problems. How they really feel about it’s completely legitimate. You might be happy with it and be open to criticism.”
Regardless of her knack for choosing controversial initiatives, Chau’s future within the business seems to be brilliant. Past her Oscar nod, she just lately starred because the tortilla-serving Elsa in Mark Mylod‘s hit movie The Menu and just lately appeared in episode three of Peacock’s Pokerface. Trying forward, she’s received movies lined up with auteurs like Kelly Reichardt, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Wes Anderson. Whereas she could also be ambivalent about awards, she’s nonetheless excited in regards to the work. “The work is coming in organically,” she tells the Impartial. “I really like that it’s occurring that method.”
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