Awkwafina is having a very good year. She just won a Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in The Farewell, and she's about to debut her own new sitcom Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens on Comedy Central. However, she is not an Oscar nominee, as many expected she would be at this time.
When the Academy Award nominations were announced on Monday, Awkwafina aka Nora Lum's name was noticeably missing from the list, and it was one of the major snubs of the season. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Tuesday, Awkwafina spoke up about the oversight, saying that while she's grateful The Farewell enjoyed as long a ride as it did, she had some misgivings about the nominations.
"We really didn't know where it would take us, but to see all the attention that it's gotten feels like a win," she said. "That being said, there were amazing performances ... and we can't ignore the fact there are some incredible movies that women have helmed, including mine, The Farewell." The Farewell was directed by Lulu Wang, one of several female directors who were left out in the all-male directing category.
Awkwafina went on to acknowledge that there's "always more work to be done" in terms of diversity — indeed, only one woman of color was nominated for acting this year — but she said that for her, personally, she was mostly grateful for the film's journey from creation to today.
In Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, the comic plays Nora, a 27-year-old New Yorker who can't hold a steady job (she drives for a ride-sharing app for cash) and can't catch a break, mostly because she can't stop screwing things up for herself. At the press tour, Awkwafina said that she didn't create the show as a means of undoing stereotypes or affecting representation, but just to show one woman's story.
"I made a point to draw on elements of my life," she said, adding that she didn't need to find something about the character to make her some exceptional representative; Nora could just be herself. "I hope that inspires young kids to be themselves, whether people want to see that image or not — just because that's who they are."
Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens premieres Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.
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