UPDATED with video from speech: On Sunday, Awkwafina became the first actress of Asian-American descent to win a Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category.
The actress took home the award for her role in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell, which follows the story of a Chinese-American woman returning to China to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother—a narrative based on Wang’s own experience.
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Backstage, Awkwafina said of being the first Asian-American woman to win in this category, “I actually heard that fact and it was pretty mind-blowing. It feels incredible… but you want there to be more. I hope this is only the beginning.”
Although technically classed as a comedy film by the HFPA, The Farewell has a fairly serious bent. Despite previously being known for her straight-up comedy work in Crazy Rich Asians, she showed off dramatic acting chops in the role. In accepting the award, she returned to her full-on comedy roots. “If I fall upon hard times I can sell this,” she quipped, holding her statuette.
Awkwafina said Wang had given her “the chance of a lifetime” with the role, and thanked her Farewell co-star Zhao Shuzhen, who played her on-screen grandmother, while also thanking her real-life grandmother who raised her. “To my grandma, my best friend, the woman who raised me,” she said, adding, “I’d love to dedicate this to my dad Wally. I told you I’d get a job dad.”
Finally, she also dedicated the award to her mother. “I always hoped she was watching from somewhere above, and I hope she’s watching now.”
Awkwafina can next be seen later this month in her new Comedy Central series Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.
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