Awkwafina became the first person of Asian descent in Golden Globes history to win best actress in a motion picture, comedy/musical. Awkwafina’s nomination and win for her performance in The Farewell was a rare spot of diversity in the lineup of nominees this year, as the Golden Globes snubbed female directors and ignored Ava Duvernay‘s critically acclaimed mini-series When They See Us about The Exonerated Five (formally known as the Central Park Five) all together. The Golden Globes complimented itself for granting Awkwafina’s groundbreaking win as an Asian American actress, tweeting, “It was a night of historic firsts at the 77th #GoldenGlobes. @awkwafina, @eltonofficial & Bernie Taupin, and @ParasiteMovie are among the list of history-making winners from last night.”

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It was a night of historic firsts at the 77th #GoldenGlobes. @awkwafina, @eltonofficial & Bernie Taupin, and @ParasiteMovie are among the list of history-making winners from last night.
Can you spot the differences in these before and after shots? pic.twitter.com/56h9oNJYdJ

Awkwafina plays Billi in The Farewell, a woman who struggles to reconcile her Chinese and American identity, as well as her family’s immigration to the United States, when she travels back to China to visit her grandmother. Billi’s grandmother, played by Zhao Shuzhen, is dying of cancer, a fact that Billi’s family refuses to reveal to Shuzhen’s character. The film is based on a true story that Lulu Wang told onThis American Life, who wrote, directed and produced the film.

“When I read [the script] I felt that I’d never read anything like this. I’d never heard a story like this. Yet there’s something so relatable to this situation, and I felt that really strongly,” Awkwafina told The L.A, Times after she was nominated last month. Awkwafina’s win follows two other Golden Globe nominations for Asian actresses last year. Sandra Oh won best actress in a drama TV series for Killing Eve in 2019, the same year Constance Wu was nominated for best actress in a movie comedy/musical for Crazy Rich Asians, but did not win, the same award Awkwafina won on Sunday.

 

How @awkwafina is reacting to her historic #GoldenGlobes win backstage @thefarewell https://t.co/omJU7zJhN7 pic.twitter.com/URbZ1GELgd

— LAT Entertainment (@latimesent) January 6, 2020

Awkwafina didn’t realize that no Asian actress had won best actress in her category until she was at the award ceremony. However, she has mixed emotions about her groundbreaking win. “I actually just heard that [the win is a first for an Asian actress] and it was pretty mind blowing. I think it feels incredible but I think there’s also this other feeling that you want there to be more. I hope this is just the beginning,” she said backstage at the Globes after her win.