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'Everything Everywhere All at Once' win 'had an even more meaningful and uplifting impact on the Asian American community,' lawmaker says

Cast and crew members from
Cast and crew members from Everything Everywhere All at Once pose with their Oscar trophies during the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Count Rep. Judy Chu, who represents California's 28th District in the House and chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, as one of the many who cheered on Everything Everywhere All at Once's dominance at Sunday's Oscars.

Just moments before the broadcast began, Chu explained that much of the movie's cast and crew came to personally check on her community, days after 11 people were killed and nine injured by a gunman who attacked at a ballroom dance hall during a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park. The lawmaker wished the nominees well.

Of course, the weird (in a really good way!) movie ended up winning seven trophies, including Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor for Ke Huy Quan, Best Supporting Actress for Jamie Lee Curtis and Best Picture.

On Monday, Chu tells Yahoo Entertainment of the importance of the film about Asian Americans having made such a big ripple in pop culture.

"As Michelle Yeoh said in her acceptance speech last night, 'For all the little boys and girls who look like me, watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities.' An Oscar win for Michelle — only the second best actress award to a woman of color in 95 years and the first ever to a woman of Asian descent— validates her undeniable talent and will inspire AAPI performers around the country," Chu writes via email. "But the impact isn't limited to AAPIs in creative industries. If there are any AAPI children or AAPI adults who held their heads a little higher today — and I suspect there are many — the movie's many wins had an even more meaningful and uplifting impact on the Asian American community."

Chu weighs in on why representation of her community in pop culture matters so much.

"After the decades of subtle to overt discrimination faced by AAPI actors like Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, and 94-year-old James Hong, I'm deeply hopeful that the movie's massive commercial and critical success clears the path for more authentic AAPI stories produced," Chu says. "I'm also hopeful more AAPI actors and film crew workers will be hired in Hollywood and beyond. Representation matters — in our legislatures, in our boardrooms, and, yes, on our stages and behind the cameras."

Rep. Judy Chu knows that representation in culture matters. (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)
Rep. Judy Chu knows that representation in culture matters. (Photo: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

And as for that dinner, Chu says it was held in January, as a pre-celebration for the Oscar noms, just hours before the film received a whopping 11 nominations — more than any other film this year. (They knew they had something good!) She did not attend.

"The dinner was a cast-and-crew-only event in Monterey Park, and I'm honored they came here so soon after tragedy to celebrate a special moment for their entire team," Chu explains. "I learned about the dinner when I ran into some of the production team at Vice President [Kamala] Harris's Lunar New Year celebration at her residence, the first of its kind."

The Los Angeles Times reported Jan. 24 that the event at Atlantic Seafood and Dim Sum had been planned in that location for weeks, and the group resolved to keep their plans as a show of support. Quan said they were sad to see that the area was desolate.

"It was so sad when we saw the streets were empty. We walked into the restaurant, and it was empty," he told the newspaper. "I'm so glad we went. We didn't shy away from it. We didn't cancel. We went there, we showed them our love, we supported the business, and I think that's what people should do. That's what I hope."

Quan noted that the very first thing they did was pay tribute to those who had been lost.

"We started the night acknowledging what happened. We had a moment of silence for the victims," Quan said. "We just wanted to show Monterey Park that we love them."