“’The Farewell came out last January at Sundance and we really didn’t know where it would take us. And to see all the attention that it’s gotten, it feels like a win,” Awkwafina said at Tuesday’s Television Critics Association winter press tour during a panel for her new Comedy Central series “Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens.”
Last week, Awkwafina made history as the first Asian winner of the Golden Globe for Best Comedy/Musical Actress. But the Lulu Wang film was blanked completely during Monday’s Oscar nominations. Had Awkwafina gotten in, she would’ve been the first Asian-American nominated for Best Actress and the first Asian nominee in the category since 1935.
The actress shared that she and the “Farewell” team exchanged some texts on Monday “about how appreciative we are all about how well this run has been.” “We didn’t know that ‘The Farewell’ would have literally have a home. We didn’t know that anyone would buy ‘The Farewell,’ that it would be on screens,” she stated. “To express how far we’ve come, it’s so much more; it’s the journey.”
Ultimately, there was only one person of color among the acting nominees, Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), while no women made the director lineup yet again despite numerous critically acclaimed female-helmed films in contention. Awkwafina, whose show is loosely based on her upbringing in Queens, NY, acknowledged that there is “always more work to be done” on the representation and inclusivity front the industry.
“Bottom line, there were some amazing performances this year. I think all of them are warranted, as they should’ve been. That’s not also to say that we can’t ignore the fact that there were some incredible movies that women helmed, including mine, ‘The Farewell,’ so me, personally, I feel very grateful for where I am, where we’ve come,” she said. “I think there’s always more work to be done, of course. I think I’ve had a pretty exciting ride and I think that with this show and with the movies that we’ve seen this year, representation existed in those movies. … But in terms of anything else, I can’t be more grateful to do what I love to do and to be recognized a little bit for that, it’s enough.”
“Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens,” which has already been renewed for a second season, premieres Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.
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