If you have asked me twenty five years ago if there would be Filipino American actors nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards, I would have answered, "Yes, of course!"  And, why not?  Filipino Americans are the second largest Asian American population in the United States of America based on the 2010 U.S. Census.  And, as far as I can remember, we have dominated song, dance and live theatre.  It's just a matter of time we would be portrayed, represented and noticed on prime time network television.

The 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards' nominees were announced and among the Filipino American talent, the nominees are…


Nominated for Outstanding Performance By A Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series as the doomed antagonist real life serial killer Andrew Cunanan in FX’s critically-raved and award-winning series, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story."  A scene between Criss and Jon Jon Briones as Andrew's father, Modesto.

Darren Criss took home the 2018 Emmy, the 2019 Golden Globe and the 2019 Critics Choice Awards.  He is the first Filipino American to win these coveted honors as Best Male Actor from his peers.  And, if he takes home the Screen Actors Guild Award, he will become the first Filipino American actor to do so.

During his acceptance speech on stage at the Golden Globe Awards, Criss called the miniseries "a grim story to make,” but he also noted this had been “a marvelous year for representation for actors in Hollywood.” As the son of “a firecracker Filipino woman [from Cebu], I’m enormously proud to be a tiny part of that.”

Backstage answering reporters' questions, he continued, “...being half Filipino is one of my favorite things about me. I feel like I have been given a superhero cape and I am glad to step up to that plate. It’s a great privilege.”


Nominated for Outstanding Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture is the Asian American ensemble of Warner Brothers' "Crazy Rich Asians" starring Nico Santos (Oliver T'sien) and featuring Kris Aquino (Princess Intan).

An introductory scene between Santos with Constance Wu and Awkwafina.

Nico Santos was one of my special guest panelists for my 2nd Annual Filipino Hollywood Actors Panel back in June 2016.  He responded to an audience member's question, "...we’ve always been a little bit under the radar.  It’s 2016 and Tess [Paras], me and Vincent Rodriguez on his show ["Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"] as well, like we’re the only Filipino characters on network television. We’re the second largest community in the United States, the largest Asian community in California, but we are hardly represented in media at all."

Nico Santos (top left) at 2nd Filipino Hollywood Actors Panel Created & Produced by Edwin A. Santos (mid-bottom)
He was then asked how his prominence or his position as a Filipino playing the character of Mateo on the NBC television series, "Superstore" (currently enjoying its fourth season) have been with Filipinos and Asian Americans?

Santos answered, "They’re super excited! I also didn’t realize how big a deal it was until I started getting a lot of messages on social media. Not only Filipino but like also seeing like a queer Filipino on television. When I was getting into the business, all I knew was Alec Mapa, the only ever queer Filipino I ever saw on television. When I saw him, I was like, 'Oh! My God! Yes, there’s hope!' It actually just made me think, wow there really isn’t a whole lot of us if we’re getting this type of response from everybody."

A similar sentiment can be said about Jon M. Chu's 2018 rom-com, "Crazy Rich Asians," the first all-Asian American feature film in twenty-five years since Wayne Wang's 1993 drama, "The Joy Luck Club" when it was released in movie theaters last year to worldwide attendances.

The 25th Annual SAG Awards ceremony will celebrate their achievements as well as the other nominees and winners when it is simulcast live on TNT and TBS this Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 8:00pm ET/PT.

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