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Where EAST meets the Northwest


HISTORIC WIN. Awkwafina poses in the press room with her award for best performance by an actress in a motion picture, musical, or comedy for The Farewell at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

From The Asian Reporter, V30, #02 (January 20, 2020), page 9.

Awkwafina makes Golden Globes history with Farewell acting win

By Jonathan Landrum Jr.
AP Entertainment Writer

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Awkwafina said she had a "mind-blowing" experience after learning backstage she made history at the Golden Globes.

The rapper and actress became the first woman of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe for best actress in a musical or comedy film for her starring role in The Farewell. She’s best known for her comic role in Crazy Rich Asians.

Awkwafina believes she has more to prove.

"It’s pretty mind-blowing," she said. "It feels incredible. There’s also another feeling that you are going to do more. I hope this is just the beginning."

Awkwafina shifted course to play a young woman in a Chinese family that is keeping their matriarch’s cancer a secret from her in director Lulu Wang’s The Farewell. She said she particularly related to the film.

"Immigrants in this country who were raised to feel very American ... and when we go back where, you know, we’re told that you don’t belong here and you go back to where you belong," she said. "You feel like a stranger there and this constant feeling of being lost in translation. And I think that’s what really resonated with me in The Farewell.

The win is part of a breakout two-year run for the 31-year-old actress, who had a breakthrough year in 2018 after appearances in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8.

* * *

Awkwafina gets second season of new cable network comedy series

By Beth Harris

The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. — Awkwafina may not have an Oscar nomination, but the breakout star has already secured a second-season renewal of her new Comedy Central series.

"Awkwafina is Nora from Queens" debuts January 22. The network said it was adding a second season for the show based on Awkwafina’s real life growing up in the New York borough of Queens.

Awkwafina joined Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Murphy, Robert De Niro, and Beyoncé among the big names who didn’t receive a nod when Oscar nominations were announced. Awkwafina became the first actress of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe award in a leading actress category for The Farewell.

"My emotional reaction to all of this is that I’m grateful for this journey," she said about being shut out for the Oscars. "I’ve had a pretty exciting ride and with this show and movies, we’ve seen this year that representation existed. I can’t be more grateful to do what I do and be recognized a little bit at least is incredible."

Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, created the half-hour show in which she co-stars with B.D. Wong, Bowen Yang, and Lori Tan Chinn. Awkwafina also has writing and executive producer duties. She was raised by her Chinese-American father and grandparents alongside her cousin after her Korean-American mother died when she was a child.

"I loved hanging out with my grandma in my 20s. Great food," Awkwafina told a TV critics meeting.

As a teenager, she came up with the name Awkwafina in a nod to the awkwardness she felt and as an alter ego to her outwardly passive personality.

"I made a point to draw on very true realities of my life growing up. The character of Nora, I don’t think she’s overdrawn in any way," Awkwafina said of the show. "I didn’t find a need in her to go for anything that wasn’t truly herself. I hope it inspires young kids not to be afraid to be themselves."

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