Awkwafina took home the award for best actress in a musical or comedy for her lead performance in The Farewell 

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 05, 2020 11:00 PM
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Awkwafina is feeling the award season glow with a major accolade to her name — and dedicating the prize to her dad in the process.

At the Golden Globes on Sunday night, the actress, 31, won best actress in a musical or comedy for her lead performance in The Farewell.

Also nominated in this lead actress category were Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart), Cate Blanchett (Where’d You Go, Bernadette?), Ana De Armas (Knives Out) and Emma Thompson (Late Night).

“This is great. Thank you. If anything, I fall upon hard times, I can sell this so that’s good,” the actress joked in the opening of her speech.

“First of all, thank you so much to the Hollywood Foreign Press. I’ve never been to the Golden Globes, so I’m here now and it’s this and it’s great,” she continued, thanking “everyone at A24” as well as “the woman who plays my grandma in The Farewell.”

Awkwafina
Awkwafina
| Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

“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 the story, being with you, was incredible,” she continued.

“I’d like to dedicate this to my dad, Wally,” the star said, adding, “I told you I’d get a job, dad.”

“And to my grandma, my best friend, the woman who raised me. And to my mom, Tia, who I always hoped was watching from somewhere above and who I hope is watching now. Thank you all,” she concluded.

In response to her being the first Asian-American to win the best actress in a musical or comedy award, Awkwafina told reporters in a Q and A, “It feels incredible. I think there’s also this other feeling when you want there to be more, and I hope this is just the beginning.”

The Farewell marks the first film in which the actress carries the narrative in a leading role, following breakout supporting performances in movies like 2018’s Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s 8. Awkwafina currently appears alongside Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in the blockbuster adventure sequel Jumanji: The Next Level.

Upon receiving news of her nomination last month, Awkwafina said she had an odd congratulatory interaction with her aunt via text.

“The most unusual congratulations was my aunt texting me, telling me I should eat less grains,” she told USA Today at the time. “I really like ancient grains and she had read an article about grains. And on the back of that [information], she gave me, ‘Oh yeah, congratulations!’”

Awkwafina Golden Globes
Awkwafina
| Credit: NBC

In The Farewell, which was also nominated for best foreign language film, Awkwafina plays Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels back to mainland China to visit her grandmother who was recently diagnosed with cancer. When her family decides to keep the diagnosis a secret from her grandmother, Billi becomes embroiled in her family’s drama and must ultimately decide whether she will tell her grandmother the truth.

Awkwafina thanked the Hollywood Foreign Press Association after the nominations announcement, saying in a statement that she felt “incredibly honored.”

“I am beyond grateful to the HFPA, and to be grouped with such insanely talented actresses,” she said. “I grew up watching the Golden Globes every year, cheering for my favorite films and actors … it is surreal that I now get to go! Wait, I do get to go right?”

The 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony is airing live on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5.