Not surprisingly, Andy Samberg and Oh kicked off the awards show with a few barbed comments directed at the evening’s nominees. That included calling out some more-than-questionable casting choices from recent years. The 47-year-old Killing Eve star offered Stone the jab while highlighting Crazy Rich Asians' box office success while also boasting Asian actors in the lead.
“[Crazy Rich Asians] is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha,” she joked.
This prompted Stone to immediately respond, shouting, “I”m sorry!”
Sandra Oh: ["Crazy Rich Asians"] is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since "Ghost in the Shell" and "Aloha."
As fans know, in the Hawaiian film, Stone was cast to play Allison Ng, a woman of partial Chinese descent. She has since responded to the criticism.
“There’s a lot of conversation about how we want to see people represented on screen and what we need to change as a business to reflect culture in a clearer way and not in an idealized way,” she wrote in a statement in 2015, via Vanity Fair. “There are some flaws in the system. My eyes have been opened in many ways this year.”
Oh’s comment was also aimed at Scarlett Johansson, who was cast to play the lead in 2017’s Ghost in the Shell, a character that’s always been depicted as Japanese in the past.
“I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person,“ she told Marie Claire, via NME, amid the whitewashing outcry. “Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive.”
However, in 2018, she was cast as a trans individual in Rub & Tug, leading to a whole other backlash, prompting her to step down from the role.
“I have great admiration and love for the trans community and am grateful that the conversation regarding inclusivity in Hollywood continues,” she told Out magazine in a statement. “While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film.”