September 30, 2023

By Diana Cheng
AAP Film & Arts Writer

The 77th Golden Globe Awards took place at the Beverly Hilton on January 5th, kicking off the film awards momentum of the new year. The first major awards show of the new decade, Sunday’s event saw two historic, Asian related wins at the annual gala of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Awkwafina became the first actor of Asian descent to win Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Awkwafina’s role as Billi in the Lulu Wang directed feature “The Farewell” has been garnering high acclaims since the film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2019. “The Farewell” is also a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the awards night.

This is the second consecutive nomination of an Asian American in this category at the Golden Globes. Last year’s nominee was Constance Wu, co-star with Awkwafina in the 2018 summer box-office hit “Crazy Rich Asians”, adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s bestselling novel. In Golden Globe history, there has been just six nominees of Asian heritage for the Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical and Comedy category. Hailee Steinfeld, of Filipino descent, is another recent one (“The Edge of Seventeen”, 2017). Awkwafina’s win is a ground-breaking first.

Another history-making triumph was “Parasite”, the Bong Joon Ho directed, genre-bending movie, which became the first Korean feature to win a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe. Boon’s Palme d’Or honored work about the clashes of the socio-economic classes in South Korea today has been a favorite in the awards circuit. His short acceptance speech in Korean is probably one of the best on the stage that night. As translator Sharon Choi relayed in English, Bong’s commentary on differences and the language that unites is inspiring for our divisive world:

“Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films. Just being nominated along with fellow amazing international filmmakers was a huge honor.” And in English, he added, “I think we use only one language: the cinema.”

There were some unexpected wins and snubs. “1917”, the late-arriving, World War II film based on director Sam Mendes’s story his grandfather told him, captured Best Motion Picture – Drama, and a Best Director Globe for himself. Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” won Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Screenplay for Tarantino, and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt.

The snubs could well indicate the current contentions between the big and small screens, movies shown as cinematic form in theatres vs. the easy access of them via streaming services, two polarizing rivals of viewing experiences. Netflix’s two front runners, “Marriage Story” with six nominations got only one win, Best Supporting Actress for Laura Dern for her role as a fiery divorce lawyer, while Martin Scorsese’s highly acclaimed “The Irishman” with five nominations was totally shut out of snatching any golden statuette.

Will the Golden Globes results have any bearings on the upcoming Oscars? That’s to be seen. For a full list of awards winners go to HFPA’s website.

Contact Diana Cheng at [email protected] or visit at Twitter @Arti_Ripples or visit her blog Ripple Effects