Fox Searchlight acquires Zhao’s third film, Paramount nabs and ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ at NAACP Image Awards

HOLLYWOOD — Two Asian Americans were on the receiving end of positive negotiations on Hollywood deals with Fox Searchlight and Paramount Pictures. Nominations for the 2019 NAACP Image Awards, meanwhile, were announced ahead of Valentine’s Day, with Crazy Rich Asians, Fahrenheit 450 and Asian American-directed episodes of Atlanta and Better Call Saul all receiving nominations receiving nominations.

Chloé Zhao

            Fox Searchlight acquired Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao’s third directorial venture, Nomadland, it was reported on Feb. 12. The film reportedly stars Frances McDormand (Fargo, Mississippi Burning, Burn After Reading) and David Strathairn (City of Hope, L.A. Confidential, Good Night and Good Luck) in the leading roles.

            Zhao made her cinematic debut in 2015, when Songs My Brothers Taught Me premiered at Sundance Film Festival. The Rider, a western film set in South Dakota, was her second directorial venture and released in 2017. Cannes Film Festival featured The Rider as part of its Director’s Fortnight selection. The Beijing-born filmmaker directed or produced six short films between 2008 and 2011.

Eugene Yang

            Paramount Pictures, meanwhile, hired Eugene Yang as its senior vice president of Theatrical for Asia Pacific, it was reported on Feb. 13. Yang, who was formally an executive at United International Pictures, will reportedly be based out of Paramount’s Taipei, Taiwan office and will begin his new position on May 1.

            Deadline Hollywood reports Yang will specifically oversee distribution and marketing of Paramount’s theatrical releases in East Asian countries such as China, Japan and South Korea.

            Yang comes to Paramount after 20-plus years at United International Pictures; he was at Buena Vista’s Hong Kong office prior to joining United International Pictures.

NAACP Image Awards

            Asian Americans in Hollywood will be represented at this year’s NAACP Image Awards, according to the list of nominations.

            Constance Wu is among the finalists for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture; the Fresh Off The Boat star received her 2019 NAACP Image Awards nomination for her leading role in Crazy Rich Asians.

            The film, which was the first studio production to start a predominantly Asian cast since 1993, is also nominated Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture.

            Other 2019 NAACP Image Awards nominees with Asian roots are:

-       Zhubin Parang, Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

-       Ramin Bahrani, Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television), Fahrenheit 450 (HBO)

-       Amir Naderi, Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television), Fahrenheit 450 (HBO)

-       Ramin Bahrani, Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television), Fahrenheit 450 (HBO)

-       Adel Lim, Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film), Crazy Rich Asians

-       Hiro Murai, Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, Atlanta, “Teddy Perkins” (FX Networks)

-       Deborah Ann Chow, Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series, Better Call Saul, “Something Stupid” (AMC)

            Black Panther received 13 nominations; other films also earning multiple nominations are BlacKkKlansman, If Beale Street Could Talk and The Hate U Give. Television programs earning major traction on this year’s NAACP Image Awards nomination list are Atlanta, Black-ish, Dear White People, Grown-ish, How to Get Away with Murder, Insecure and Power.

            Winners will be announced on March 30; the awards show will be televised on TV One.