The 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy went to Awkwafina for her performance in The Farewell. The award was handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Sunday, during a live ceremony hosted by Ricky Gervais. She beat out Ana de Armas (Knives Out), Cate Blanchett (Where'd You Go, Bernadette), Beanie Feldstein (Booksmart) and Emma Thompson (Late Night).
This is the first Golden Globe nomination and win for the 31-year-old actress, who first broke out with supporting roles in Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean’s Eight. And now, with trophy in hand, she is the first Asian-American actress to win a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
"This is great," Awkwafina deadpanned while accepting the award. "If I ever fall on hard times, I'm gonna sell this, so that's great."
The actress and comedian thanked her director, Lulu Wang, for giving her "the chance of a lifetime," as well as her father, Wally -- "I told you I'd get a job, Dad" -- before sending a special message to her own grandmother, who raised her, and her mother, Tia, who died when she was just four. "I always hoped [she] was watching from somewhere above, and I hope she's watching now."
She won for her celebrated performance as Chinese-American writer Billi Wang in Lulu Wang’s acclaimed dramedy about a family who reunites in China with their grandmother, who does not know she is dying. In addition to the Golden Globes win, The Farewell has earned the actress a nomination for the upcoming Critics' Choice Awards.
After the Golden Globe nominations were first announced in December, Awkwafina described the feeling as surreal, telling ET she couldn’t believe it happened. “I woke up to a flurry of stuff. It's just been a crazy day,” she said, adding on social media that she was “beyond grateful to the HFPA, and to be grouped with such insanely talented actresses.”
Awkwafina’s Golden Globes win is a historic moment for performers of Asian descent. The rapper-turned-actress is only the sixth woman to be nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, following Machiko Kyo, Miyoshi Umeki, Yvonne Elliman, Hailee Steinfeld and Constance Wu, who was nominated last year for Crazy Rich Asians.
In total, there’s only a handful of Asian performers to win a Golden Globe, including Yoko Shimada, who was the first to win in an acting category, followed by Ben Kingsley, Haing S. Ngor, Sandra Oh, who won in 2005 and again in 2019 for Killing Eve, Aziz Ansari and Darren Criss.