2020 Golden Globes: First performer of Asian descent wins Best Actress

Awkwafina is the first performer of Asian descent to win a Golden Globe Award in a lead actress film category for her performance in “The Farewell”.
January 06, 2020 | 12:46
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Awkwafina poses backstage with her award. Photo: Reuters

The actress and comedian Nora Lum — a.k.a. Awkwafina — made history at the Golden Globes on Sunday night when she won for her performance in The Farewell. She's the first Asian woman to win Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy in Globes history.

According to CNN, she's only the sixth woman of Asian descent to be nominated in the lead actress in a musical or comedy category.

The others were Machiko Kyo (1956's "The Teahouse of the August Moon"), Miyoshi Umeki (1961's "Flower Drum Song"), Yvonne Elliman (1973's "Jesus Christ Superstar"), and Constance Wu (2018). Hailee Steinfeld, whose mother is of Filipino descent, was all nominated for her work in "Edge of Seventeen."

Awkwafina joins a small group of performers of Asian lineage who have won Golden Globe awards since the show started. Sandra Oh is the only performer of Asian descent to have won twice.

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, The Farewell marked the dramatic lead debut for the actress, who was born Nora Lum. In the acclaimed film, Awkwafina plays Billi, an American woman whose family has chosen to keep the truth of a terminal diagnosis from her grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) in China.

Writer and director Lulu Wang adapted a personal story she first told on NPR's "This American Life."

In her acceptance speech, Awkwafina said Wang gave her "the chance of a lifetime" and "taught me so much."

She dedicated her award to her father.

On the same night, another to make history was Bong Joon-ho’s Korean class thriller Parasite, which won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film. It was the first South Korean movie to ever win that prize in the 77-year history of the awards.

Parasite is a parable of class, family and privilege, featuring a poor Korean family that insinuates itself into the lives of a wealthy family. The film debuted in October to ecstatic reviews, and on Sunday was named the year’s best film by the National Society of Film Critics.

The win boosts the Oscar odds for Parasite, which has the third-best shot at winning best picture, according to Gold Derby.

Parasite was distributed in the US by Neon. It has collected USD129.7 million in global ticket sales./.

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