Robert Downey Jr., Emma Stone face backlash for ‘ignoring’ Asian actors at Oscars


Oscar winners Robert Downey Jr. and Emma Stone are being criticized for seemingly ignoring Asian stars Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan when accepting their Academy Awards at the 2024 Oscars.

Downey Jr.’s acceptance: Quan, who was named best supporting actor at last year’s ceremony, was one of the presenters of the same award to Downey Jr. this year. During the “Oppenheimer” star’s acceptance, Quan handed him the trophy but Downey Jr. did not appear to acknowledge Quan. Instead, he approached the other presenters, shaking hands with Tim Robbins and fist-bumping Sam Rockwell.

The backlash: Downey Jr.’s actions led to disappointment from viewers and backlash on social media, with some viewers calling him “arrogant” and “disrespectful.”

“Robert downey jr. could’ve took one second or even acknowledge Ke Huy Quan while on stage, who was presenting an award to him personally… this sh*t was so disrespectful idc,” one person wrote on X.

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“How arrogant. He completely ignored Ke,” another wrote.

“The more I see it the angrier I get because Ke Huy Quan called his name with such pure excitement and appreciation and then he does this,” one said.

Stone’s acceptance: A similar incident allegedly occurred with Stone and Yeoh. Stone, who won the Oscar for best actress, appeared to say “thank you” as she took the award from Yeoh, who could be seen handing the trophy to Jennifer Lawrence, before they both passed it on to Stone. The "Poor Things" star then stopped to hug Lawrence and Sally Field. But before starting her speech, she circled back and touched Yeoh as well as presenters Charlize Theron and Jessica Lange.

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Similar backlash: The quick moment has led to both confusion about Yeoh’s actions and anger at Stone for supposedly “ignoring” Yeoh.

“I'm seeing some talk about Robert Downey Jr ignoring Ke Huy Quan but I'm not seeing anything about Emma Stone doing basically the same thing to Michelle Yeoh,” a viewer said.

“Emma's behavior: Microaggression rooted in racism,” another wrote.

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“Stone was RUDE,” another person commented.

Yeoh’s explanation: However, Yeoh took a moment on Monday to clarify why she handed Stone’s Oscar to Lawrence just before Stone accepted the trophy onstage.

“Congratulations Emma!! I confused you, but I wanted to share that glorious moment of handing over [your] Oscar to you together with your best friend Jennifer!!” Yeoh wrote in an Instagram post. “She reminded me of my Bae Jamie Lee Curtis. Always there for each other!!”

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Intense scrutiny: In contrast, actor Cillian Murphy, a first-time Oscar winner for "Oppenheimer," received praise from fans for shaking hands with all five best actor presenters before delivering his acceptance speech. The backlash underscores the intense scrutiny actors are often under while in the spotlight.

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