Awkwafina Addresses 'The Farewell' Oscar Snubs: 'There's Always More Work to Be Done'
By Meredith B. Kile
Awkwafina and the cast and crew of The Farewell are facing their Oscar snubs with a positive attitude.
During the panel for her upcoming Comedy Central show, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens -- which scored an early season 2 renewal ahead of its premiere on Jan. 22 -- at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, the actress and comedian addressed being overlooked by the Academy when nominations were announced on Monday.
"We had a couple of text message exchanges, but everything [was] just about how appreciative we all are of how long this run has been," she said of the reactions among the cast and crew. "The Farewell came out last January at Sundance and we really didn't know where it would take us. To see all the attention that it's gotten, that feels like a win."
Despite critical acclaim and awards season success, The Farewell was entirely shut out of the Academy Awards nominations, with no acting nods for Awkwafina or co-star Zhao Shuzhen and no recognition for writer-director Lulu Wang. The poignant and powerful film, which is based on real events in Wang's life, follows a Chinese family attempting to keep their grandmother's terminal illness a secret from her.
The film has earned recognition from the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Critics' Choice Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and more, but was snubbed by the Oscars just a week after Awkwafina's historic win at the Golden Globes.
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"Bottom line, there were some amazing performances this year. I think all of them were warranted as they should have been," she added on Tuesday. "That's not also to say that we can't ignore the fact that there are some incredible movies that were women-helmed, including mine, The Farewell. Me personally, I feel very grateful for where I am and where we've come."
"My emotional reaction to all of this really is that I'm grateful for this journey. We didn't know that The Farewell would literally have a home. We didn't know if anybody would buy The Farewell, that it would be on the screens. To express that as far as we've come, it's so much more. It's the journey. For that, me personally, I think there's always more work to be done. Of course. I've had a pretty exciting ride and I think with this show and with the movies that we've seen this year, representation existed in those movies and that's what I know. In terms of anything else, I can't be more grateful to do what I love to do and to be recognized, to be a little bit for that, is enough. It's great."
Wang also shared a message of positivity on Monday, tweeting a video of her and beau Barry Jenkins celebrating their anniversary with a toast and a video chat dance-off.
"I have much to express, much to say about a lot of things," she wrote. "But first, let’s talk about today.... TODAY is our anniversary. We HAD to celebrate. This is how two working filmmakers celebrate."
I have much to express, much to say about a lot of things. But first, let’s talk about today.... TODAY is our anniversary. We HAD to celebrate. This is how two working filmmakers celebrate. 😝♥️ pic.twitter.com/j5GthcS4xf
Awkwafina made history at the Golden Globes by becoming the first Asian-American actress to win the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy. In her acceptance speech, she thanked 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."
Backstage with ET, Awkwafina reflected on her "insanely crazy" win. "It means a lot," she said of making history. "When we were making The Farewell, we had no idea, I had no idea. I didn't know if I could do drama... To see Lulu's story, her vision come this far, is very incredible."
"I think more than ever, it shows that real stories [are] all connected by love and loss and especially the love that we have for our grandparents, you know?" she added. "I think at the core of that it shows that no matter where the story comes from, close or far, we will still find a way to relate to them and that's the beauty about some of these things."
See more on Awkwafina's Golden Globes win in the video below.