The 2022 Academy Awards are approaching fast, and while the ceremony’s identity as the most high-profile film awards presentation won’t be changing any time soon, the biggest highlights of the star-studded night, arguably, don’t even come from the accolades. Instead, the hijinks of the (usually) very comedically-gifted hosts almost always take center stage. Who could forget the 86th annual awards, when “Ellen’s Oscar Selfie” was captured? Or the 89th, when Jimmy Kimmel brought a gaggle of selfie-stick wielding tourists into the theater, allowing them to shake hands with movie stars?
Well, this year we’re in for another night of laughs (oh, yeah, and awards too), as comedians Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and “Scary Movie” star Regina Hall were announced on Feb. 14 as the hosts of the 94th Academy Awards, to be held on March 27. The trio will make history, as this will mark the first time three women have emceed the event. Although these women deserve their chance to shine, and make for fabulous hosting choices in their own rights, the Academy could also make history in coming years with the ceremony’s first-ever Asian American or Pacific Islander host. It might be tough to believe, but out of the 93 ceremonies thus far, there has never once been an AAPI entertainer to host the Academy Awards.
Here at Character Media, we’ve got a few hosting suggestions of our own. These are the 10 Asian American actors, comedians and duos we think would do a great job hosting a future Academy Awards ceremony—hopefully sooner rather than later!
Since making his film debut in the 2007 comedy “Knocked Up,” Ken Jeong has been a staple of American TV and movies. From his roles in “The Hangover” trilogy and “Community” to his appearances on game shows like “The Masked Singer” and “I Can Hear Your Voice,” he has become an integral part of the entertainment world. This makes Jeong a perfect hosting candidate for one of the biggest award ceremonies Hollywood has to offer. With his breezy sense of humor and hosting experience, he’ll be sure to woo crowds. Plus, he’s a licensed doctor—if there’s a medical emergency, Dr. Ken’s got it covered.
2. Bowen Yang
Australian-born comedian Bowen Yang has been writing for “Saturday Night Live” since 2018, and was brought on as a featured cast member in 2019 at the start of the show’s 45th season. Not only did he make history as “SNL”’s first-ever Chinese-American cast member, he’s also been nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and even landed on the 2021 Time 100 list. And most importantly, Yang is laugh-out-loud funny. He’s made waves on the internet with his hilariously absurd portrayals of the iceberg that sank the Titanic, Fran Lebowitz, a proud gay Oompa Loompa and more. A talented star on the rise, he would be an easy frontrunner if the Oscars were to feature an API host.
3. Hasan Minhaj
This wouldn’t be the first time Hasan Minhaj has hosted a major awards ceremony. In 2017, Minhaj was the featured speaker at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and brought laughter and humor into a room filled with seasoned, but sometimes dry journalists. Minhaj clearly thrives when working with a crowd—for proof, take a look at any video of him interacting with the audience of his Netflix show “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj.” The Oscars would become a great event with a host as adaptable as Minhaj; just imagine him ribbing a whole crowd of Hollywood’s most celebrated.
It’s been over a decade since the last “Harold and Kumar” installment, and stars John Cho and Kal Penn have both gone on to do amazing things—from Cho becoming a Hollywood leading man with various starring roles in film and television, to Penn becoming a White House aide, publishing a memoir and continuing his acting career over the years. It would be great to see the two reunite at the Oscars and watch their chemistry work its magic throughout the ceremony. As a side note, it’d probably be a great promotion for a potential fourth “Harold and Kumar.”
“Always Be My Maybe” stars Ali Wong and Randall Park work effortlessly alongside one another, as the 2019 Netflix rom-com can attest, but they’ve also had fruitful solo careers. Like Minhaj, Wong started off doing stand-up comedy, and judging by her three hugely successful Netflix specials, she’s an expert at comically working a room. Park dabbled in the stand-up world as well but had his biggest break with the ABC sitcom “Fresh Off the Boat,” in which he starred as kind, mild-mannered patriarch Louis for six seasons. Bringing together the improvisational nature of live comedy and the expertise of working on a set with professional actors, Wong and Park would make a perfect hosting pair
This duo made history in 2021, breaking expectations and box office numbers with the release of “Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings,” and the two would also make great hosts for any future Oscars ceremony. Both Simu Liu and Awkwafina have hosted episodes of “SNL,” and both have starred in comedic sitcoms like “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens” and “Kim’s Convenience,” making them well-equipped to keep up with scripted segments of the ceremony. It doesn’t hurt that Liu also has some previous hosting experience, having emceed Character Media’s 18th Unforgettable Gala in 2019.
7. Sherry Cola
Speaking of Unforgettable Gala hosts, actress and comedian Sherry Cola exhibited her own prowess when leading the latest ceremony in December of 2021. Cola is best known for her role as Alice in Freeform’s “Good Trouble,” but got her start in entertainment through radio, interviewing music stars such as Noah Cyrus, Zara Larsson and Fifth Harmony for the former AMP radio station. Cola has the confidence to dish out off-the-cuff jokes with ease, and her celebrity interviewing experience isn’t anything to scoff at, considering the crowd she’d have to rub shoulders with as host.
Both Lucy Liu and Sandra Oh have long been trailblazers of AAPI representation for their work in TV and films. Between Liu’s roles in “Charlie’s Angels,” “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and “Elementary” and Oh’s roles in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Killing Eve” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” it’s hard to deny the impact the two have made on Hollywood. What better way to honor these actresses’ achievements than celebrating them as the first AAPI Oscars hosts? Of course, these women are no strangers to comedy or hosting in general, with Oh co-hosting the 76th Golden Globe Awards and “Saturday Night Live” in 2019, while Liu was the first Asian woman to host “SNL” back in 2000.
Kumail Nanjiani has worn many hats in his entertainment career. Stand-up comic, actor, writer and, most recently, star of Marvel’s “Eternals”—he’s done it all. Well, all except for hosting the Oscars, that is. But what an event that would be! Judging from his years of stand-up experience—see “Beta Male” or any of his slew of YouTube clips—the night would probably be full of relatable, although possibly self-deprecating, humor. To add to his creds, Nanjiani has also hosted “SNL” in 2017 to strong audience reception, with Indiewire critics calling it the 43rd season’s strongest episode at the time.
10. Mindy Kaling
Last but literally never least is the comedy goddess herself, Mindy Kaling. Kaling is not only a trailblazer for South Asian women in comedy, she’s also written, produced and directed some of the funniest content of our modern-age, and continues to do so. From the incredibly popular U.S. sitcom “The Office” to her newest endeavors, “Never Have I Ever” and “The Sex Lives of College Girls,” Kaling isn’t slowing down. In fact, she’s practically taking over streaming platforms like HBO Max and Netflix with her comedic wit. Although she hasn’t hosted any super high-profile ceremonies like some of the others on this list, the copious amount of late-night interviews we’ve seen prove her likability and charisma tenfold. Plus, if Kaling were to host, the Oscars might finally garner a much-coveted younger audience, as the shows she writes and produces tend toward the adolescent and young adult crowds.