Golden Globes hosts Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg kicked off the 2019 award show by calling themselves the “nicest people in show business,” but their opening monologue wasn’t without its barbs. One of the night’s spikiest jokes took a swipe at Hollywood’s tendency to whitewash stories about people of color, with Oh calling Crazy Rich Asians “the first studio film with an Asian American lead since Ghost in the Shell and Aloha,” which star, respectively, Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone as Asian protagonists. The genial, antiseptic wokeness that tends to dominate the industry’s largest award ceremonies was suddenly interrupted by a spontaneous apology. “I’m sorry!” Stone yelled in response to Oh. (“It wasn’t like I planned it, but I did say it,” Stone confirmed to the Los Angeles Times.)
This wasn’t the actress’ first apology for starring as the 2015 Cameron Crowe movie’s love interest, a character with Chinese and native Hawaiian ancestry. She first acknowledged “the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is” soon after the romance’s release (and flop), but the Oscar winner has remained the target of anger from Asian Americans about their community’s (lack of) representation in Hollywood. Perhaps Stone’s spontaneous apology at a much-larger event—and the seeming sincerity with which she responded to Oh’s jab—heralds a new era in the industry where whitewashing will only be brought up within the industry as an embarrassment of the past.