Now, Awkwafina is in the big leagues. We always knew the New York-born comedian was destined for great things, and not only did she just win her first Golden Globe for her dramatic lead role in The Farewell, but she also made history for Asian-Americans everywhere, becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win for lead actress in a movie comedy or musical. In The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang and based on the director's own life, Awkwafina plays Billi, a woman whose family decides not to tell her grandmother about her own cancer diagnoses.
"I would like to dedicate this to my dad Wally," Awkwafina said in her acceptance speech. "I told you I would 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."
Awkwafina was visibly flabbergasted by her win, just as she was when she received her nomination.
“I would never have expected something like this to happen, especially when we were filming,” she told the Los Angeles Times last month. “We just wanted to tell the story. So to see that it’s getting recognition...is really awesome.”
There have been a number of long-overdue history-making moments for Asian women in Hollywood recently. Awkwafina's win follows Constance Wu's Crazy Rich Asians nomination last year, as well as Sandra Oh's 2019 Golden Globes win for Lead Actress in a TV Drama in Killing Eve. But how many people can say they've won a Golden Globe and had their own Refinery29 series, hmmm?