Highlighting this year’s Asian Excellence Awards on AZN Television was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to Chow Yun-Fat.
Known as “The Coolest Actor in the World,” Chow has been named to People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People,” list.
He received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award honor from American directors Quentin Tarantino and Antoine Fuqua, and actor Geoffery Rush.
A huge fan of Chow’s Hong Kong action films, Tarantino wore a long black coat as homage to Chow’s characters in several of John Woo’s classic films like A Better Tomorrow. Chow received a standing ovation from the audience at UCLA’s Royce Hall after accepting his award.
“I met Chow a long time ago, pretty much at the beginning of my career, right after I’d done Reservoir Dogs,” Tarantino said. “I met John Woo because I was a big fan of his. Then I had dinner with Chow Yun-Fat because I was a huge fan of his from Better Tomorrow and Better Tomorrow 2. I’ve just met him a few times and it was really lovely and really cool.”
The Asian Excellence Awards originally began in New York as an annual benefit concert at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. With the support of Comcast’s AZN Television, the awards moved to Hollywood in 2005-2006, and has since evolved into this year’s nationally televised showcase featuring celebrity presenters, behind-the-scene peeks and highlights from the show. The special aired on E! channel May 24 and on AZN May 28.
“It’s really wonderful to be invited to come down here,” Tarantino said of the opportunity to present an award at this year’s show. “They gave me an award last year — and it’s really great to be back. I have a lot of friends here. It’ll be great to party.”
Additional guest presenters for this year’s show included the likes of Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who was among the many celebrities to stroll down the pre-show red carpet, along with veteran TV and film actor George Takei, and comedian Margaret Cho.
Asked about being an Asian in the entertainment industry, Inaba replied: “Being Asian in the industry, I think it’s wonderful. I mean that’s what I was born to be. I don’t have a choice in the matter. And it’s never been a problem for me. I never looked at it as a hinderance. I never looked at it as something I had to overcome. It was always just part of what made me, me. I’m really grateful because my parents never made me feel that was going to be a problem or something I’d have to work against. It’s been a blessing my whole career and it’s been really wonderful.”
And Inaba’s thoughts on Dancing with the Stars:
“It’s a huge honor to be the judge on that show because I’m the only female judge, I’m the only American judge and I’m Asian. It’s pretty amazine. I really respect ABC for giving me that opportunity.”
On hand to present the Outstanding Actor on Television award, Takei elaborated on his career in entertainment:
“I got my SAG card in 1958, so next year is my 50th anniversary… it’s been a great experience. Now that we can have an evening like this recognizing Asian actors who are getting great opportunities is something to celebrate because we could not have had something like this way back then so this is indeed a landmark event.”
Among the other award winners, Entourage’s Rex Lee and Heroes’ Masi Oka also got rousing ovations from the crowd.
Lee received Outstanding Supporting Actor on Television for his gay casting agent on Entourage and Oka received Outstanding Actor on Television for his starring role on Heroes. Oka, who was not able to attend the show, accepted his award via taped acceptance speech.
Highlights of the show included comedy performances from Margaret Cho and Rob Schneider, as well as, Harold and Kumar star John Cho presenting co-star Kal Penn with an Outstanding Actor in Film award for his role in The Namesake.
Stay tuned for some great podcast interviews with Quentin Tarantino, George Takei, Margaret Cho and Carrie Ann Inaba from the Asia Excellence Awards.
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