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Academy President Janet Yang on Will Smith, what to expect from the 2023 Oscars – The Hollywood Reporter


guest on this episode of Hollywood Reporter‘s Gossip Awards The podcast, which airs the day before the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood and airs on ABC, is Janet Yang, President of the first session of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Yang, the Queens-born daughter of Chinese immigrants, is only the 36th person — and only the fourth female, second person of color and first person of Asian descent — to lead the most powerful organization in Hollywood, following in the footsteps of such notables as Douglas FairbanksAnd Frank CapraAnd Bette DavisAnd George StephensAnd Gregory PeckAnd Robert Wise And Karl Malden.

During a conversation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, where Yang stayed this week to oversee preparations for the Oscars at the Dolby Theater next door, the 66-year-old reflected on his career that has defied the odds. at every turn.

Yang talks about the evolution of her relationship with China, where her parents were born but to whom she felt little connection before the trip she took with her family at the age of 16 in 1972, shortly after the president. Richard Nixon traveled there.

She discusses how she came to be involved in the film industry, in general, and how she became the first figure to bridge the American and Chinese film industries in the 1980s — she was, for example, a coordinator at Steven Spielberg‘s Sun Empire Before moving on to producing movies like in 1993 Joy Luck Club1996 The People vs. Larry Flynt and 2020 over the moon.

And she’s candid about how racist jokes about Asians made during the Oscars in 2016 inspired her to become more active in the Academy (of which she’s been a member since 2002), which eventually led to her appointment to the organization’s board. Conservatives in 2019 and her election to the board’s senior officer in 2022.

It’s also involved in a host of hot topics, from accusations that this year’s Oscar nominations reflect racism on the part of Academy members to HBO’s decision to air the season finale. The last of us Directly opposite the Academy Awards ceremony, the Academy’s decision to decline the offer of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on this year’s telecast to see if the Academy should make it available will Smith with the engraved nameplate he failed to get a year ago after winning the Best Actor Oscar and throws Hollywood’s biggest night into chaos.

It’s Oscars weekend, so be sure to catch a few more nominees, fill out your Oscar subscription and join in this conversation with the woman who heads the organization behind it all.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.