She’s a winner, baby and she’s made history!
Awkwafina is the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for lead actress in a movie comedy/musical. She received the award for her role in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell.
“I’ve never been to the Golden Globes so I’m here now and it’s this and it’s great,” the 31-year-old American actress (real name: Nora Lum) said while accepting her award. “Lulu Wang, our incredible director, you gave me this chance, the chance of a lifetime and you taught me so much and just filming the story, being with you is incredible.”
She added, “I’d like to dedicate this to my dad, Wally — I told you I’d get a job dad! — 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.”
The Farewell is based on Wang’s real-life experiences and tells the story of her Chinese family trying to keep their grandmother from learning about her own terminal illness, opting to schedule a wedding as an excuse for everyone to say goodbye to their beloved matriarch. It not only received critical acclaim (and a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes), but was so well-loved by audiences that it surpassed Avengers: Endgame for the biggest per-theatre box office average this year, making it one of the highest-grossing indie flicks of the year.
Along with Awkwafina’s nomination, The Farewell was also nominated for Best Foreign Language film, which caused controversy in that many thought categorizing an American-made film centering around a Chinese-American woman in a foreign language group “undermines the diversity of the American audience.”
Backstage at the Golden Globes, Awkwafina spoke about how Chinese-Americans tend to feel like outsiders in both China and America.
“I relate to that mentality [of being an outsider] a lot, I think a lot of children of immigrants in this country do,” she said. “We are raised to be very American and when we go back, we’re told, ‘You don’t belong here’ and when you go back to where you ‘belong,’ you also feel like a stranger there. It’s a constant feeling of being lost in translation and that’s what really resonated with me with The Farewell.”
She also spoke on her historic win, saying, “It feels incredible, but I think there’s also this other feeling that you want there to be more. I hope this is just the beginning.”