Best picture: “The Farewell” (Photo: Casi Moss, A24 Films via AP)
PASADENA, Calif. – Awkwafina isn’t carrying an Oscar grudge.
The actress, born Nora Lum, didn’t snag an Oscar nomination Monday for her critically acclaimed and Golden Globe-winning performance in last year’s “The Farewell.” But a day after the snub, she was nothing but grateful for the journey the film took her on.
“‘The Farewell’ came out last January at Sundance, and we really didn’t know where that would take us,” she told reporters at the Television Critics Association Tuesday. “To set the record straight, my emotional reaction to all of this is really that I’m grateful for the journey.”
But the actress and comedian, whose semi-autobiographical show “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens” debuts on Comedy Central Jan. 22, admits that there is still plenty of work to be done in Hollywood and awards culture when it comes to inclusion and representation.
“We can’t ignore the fact that there were some incredible movies that women helmed, including mine. … I think there’s always more work to be done, of course. I’ve had a pretty exciting ride (with “Farewell”) and with this show,” she said. “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 a little bit for that is enough; it’s great.”
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Awkwafina pointed to how far representation has come in the past few decades, citing the first Asian American sitcom, Margaret Cho’s “All-American Girl,” which aired on ABC from 1994-1995.
Awkwafina is ‘Nora from Queens’ in a new Comedy Central series. (Photo: Comedy Central)
“I remember it being an event,” she said. “When you look at the progress that we’ve made since then, it’s been incredible. But these shows still kind of stick out as very genre-specific ‘Asian American shows.'”
She expressed hope that “Nora from Queens,” which Comedy Central has already renewed for a second season, will be seen more broadly in the comedy genre.
“I made a point to draw on very true realities of my life, of my growing up, of who I am,” she said. Nora isn’t “overdrawn in any way; I think she’s as real as I can play it. Maybe that means my life is buffoonish. … I (hope) it inspires young kids to (be) themselves. And who they are, whether people want to see that image or not.”
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