WEEK IN WOMEN: Asian, Asian American and Pacific Islander women in the lead – Brandy McDonnel reports

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Experts report that violence against Asians and Asian Americans in the United States has grown over the past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite increased national attention and political action against anti-Asian hate.

This comes even as the entertainment industry seems to be offering greater exposure to Asian and Asian American filmmakers, actors and stories. At this year’s Academy Awards, Youn Yuh-jung, the scene-stealing co-star of “Minari,” made history as the first Korean performer to earn an Oscar, as did Chinese filmmaker Chloe Zhao, who became the first woman of color to win best director for her drama Nomadland.

A teenager named Yi (voice of Chloe Bennet) helps a displaced yeti in DreamWorks Animation and Pearl Studio’s Abominable, written and directed by Jill Culton. [Universal Pictures photo]
Disney’s newest animated film, Raya and the Last Dragon features the Mouse House’s first Southeast Asian “princess.” The upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings puts an Asian hero, played by Simu Liu, in the spotlight for the first time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung in the supporting cast. And Olivia Munn, who is of Chinese-Vietnamese heritage, stars in the forthcoming South by Southwest hit Violet after years of playing supporting roles. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.