Welcome to the winner’s circle, Awkwafina.
The star of The Farewell won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy on Sunday night. This was her first nomination and first win ever, making her the first Asian American woman to win in that category.
“This is great. If anything, if I fall upon hard times, we can sell this,” quipped Awkwafina, who was also one of Entertainment Weekly‘s 2020 Entertainers of the Year, when she took the stage to accept the award. “I’d like to thank the woman who plays my grandma in The Farewell, Zhao Shuzhen. Thank you and most importantly to Lulu Wang, our incredible director. You gave me this chance, the chance of a lifetime, and you taught me so much. Just filming this story, being with you was incredible.”
She continued, “I’d like to dedicate this to my dad, Wally. I told you I’d get a job, dad. And to my grandma, my best friend, the woman who raised me. And to my mother Tia, who I always hoped was watching from somewhere above and I hope that she’s watching now.”
Speaking in the press room, Awkwafina said it was an “incredible feeling” to be the first Asian American actress to win the award, adding, “but I want there to be more. I hope this is just the beginning.”
Directed and written by Lulu Wang, The Farewell followed the Chinese-American Billi, who ventures to China after her grandmother is diagnosed with cancer for one last visit. To matters even more difficult for Billi, though, she and the rest of the family conceal the illness from her grandmother as per custom. The movie was unlike anything Awkwafina had done before because while it did allow her to use her comedic skills, for which she is primarily known, it also sent her deep into dramatic territory, too.
“I was really scared about drama, because I just literally didn’t do it [before],” the actress recently told EW. She went on to explain that working on The Farewell helped her realize how much she uses comedy as a coping mechanism. “I learned [making] The Farewell that it’s an instinct for me not only in my performances, but in my real life,” she admitted. “Because I don’t want to face the heavy stuff. I want to keep it light.”
Awkwafina beat out Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Emma Thompson (Late Night), and Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go, Bernadette).
Next for the 31-year-old is the semi-autobiographical comedy series Awkwafina is Nora From Queens.
- The Two Faces of Awkwafina: How the actress got in touch with her dramatic side for The Farewell
- How Awkwafina and director Lulu Wang told an authentic — and universal — story with The Farewell
- Awkwafina is a new kind of leading lady in wry, smart indie The Farewell: review