Awkwafina Reacts to ‘The Farewell’ Oscar Snub

Awkwafina’s movie The Farewell has been sweeping awards and nominations. She won a Golden Globe for her performance. The film and director Lulu Wang earned more Globe, BAFTA and critics groups nominations. So it was a bit of a surprise when the Oscar nominations came out on January 13 and nobody from The Farewell got a nomination.

Awkwafina at TCA
Awkwafina | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Awkwafina was on a Television Critics Association panel for her new Comedy Central show Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens on January 14 and answered questions about The Farewell snub. Awkafina is Nora From Queens premieres January 22 on Comedy Central.

First, Awkwafina still considers ‘The Farewell’ a winner

Showbiz Cheat Sheet asked Awkwafina her reaction to the Academy overlooking The Farewell when other guilds recognized it. Her answer was, first, to show gratitude.

The Farewell came out last January at Sundance and we didn’t really know where it would take us,” Awkwafina said. “To see all the attention it’s gotten, that feels like a win.”

The Farewell
L-R: Diana Lin and Awkwafina in The Farewell | A24

Another reporter asked her to expand on the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations. She does speak to that below but also elaborated on her gratitude.

“To set the record straight, my emotional reaction to all of this really is that I am grateful for this journey,” Awkwafina said. “We didn’t know that The Farewell would have literally a home. We didn’t know if anyone would buy The Farewell, that it would be on screens. To express as far as we’ve come, it’s so much more. It’s the journey.”

‘The Farewell’ team has texted since Oscar nominations 

It was only 24 hours since the Oscar nominations came out, but Awkwafina said team Farewell was in touch.

The Farewell
L-R: Awkwafina and Tzi Ma in The Farewell | A24

“We had a couple text message exchanges but everything just about how appreciative we all are of how long this run has been,” Awkwafina said.

Awkwafina acknowledges the stiff competition

The nominees for Best Actress are Cynthia Erivo, Scarlett Johansson, Saoirse Ronan, Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger. The Best Director nominees are Martin Scorsese, Todd Phillips, Sam Mendes, Quentin Tarantino and Bong Joon Ho.

“Bottom line, there were some amazing performances this year,” Awkwafina said. “I think all of them are warranted as they should have been.”

The Oscars still needs to pay more attention to female filmmakers

Not to be ungrateful, but Awkafina did acknowledge the Oscars’ lack of inclusion for female filmmakers.

“That’s not also to say we can’t ignore the fact there were some incredible movies that women helmed including mine, The Farewell,” Awkwafina said. “For that, me personally, I think that there’s always more work to be done of course. Me, personally, I feel very thankful for where I am, very proud.”

Awkafina at Critic's Choice
Awkwafina | Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Whether they win awards or not, representation is increasing in film and television.

“I think that I’ve had a pretty exciting ride and I think that with the show and with the movies that we’ve seen this year, representation existed in those movies,” Awkwafina said. “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 at least a little bit for that is enough. It’s great.”

Awkwafina still has a Golden Globe

One week after her Golden Globe win, Awkwafina reflected on what it means to have one. 

“It feels incredible, man,” Awkwafina said. “That whole night and then also to be there with my Farewell family and to know what that meant, it means a lot. It’s really, really cool.”

Awkwafina at the Golden Globes
Awkwafina | Steve Granitz/WireImage,

She admits, however, that she has not taken the Globe out of its box since January 6. 

“I want to find a cool place for it but I just want to keep it in its box to keep it safe for now,” Awkwafina said.