History was made at the 77th Golden Globes on January 5, and cinephiles from the Capital Region had an extra reason to take notice. Awkwafina (born Nora Lum), a University at Albany graduate, took home a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance in The Farewell. Awkwafina became the first person of Asian descent to win in the leading actress category at the Golden Globes.
“I’d like to dedicate this to my dad,” the actress told the crowd gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel during her acceptance speech. “I told you I’d get a job, dad.” The New York native went on to dedicate the award to her grandmother and mother, whom she said she hoped were “watching from somewhere up above.”
Directed by Lulu Wang, The Farewell is a comedy-drama about a young artist who journeys to China ahead of her grandmother’s imminent death. The film is based on a true story first told by Wang on NPR’s This American Life podcast.
Awkwafina grew up in Queens and left her mark on the Capital Region as a journalism major at UAlbany. During her time as a student there, she landed an internship at the Times Union, writing a number of articles for the local periodical. After graduating, she launched her acting career on YouTube, posting comedic rap videos that eventually fetched her acting roles in big-screen successes such as Oceans Eight and Crazy Rich Asians.