Crazy Rich Asians has been a box-office hit and critical darling in the months since its release, and the fun, groundbreaking rom-com got its due on Sunday at the 24th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards when it took the trophy for best comedy.
When the film was announced as the winner, the cast could hardly contain its excitement and shock at the surprising win, beating out Deadpool 2, The Death of Stalin, Game Night, Sorry to Bother You and The Favourite (which had won the award for best acting ensemble earlier in the show).
The whole cast took to the stage while producer Nina Jacobson spoke on behalf of the film, sharing a story about the cultural significance of the celebrated project.
“When I was coming up in the business, my bosses — white guys — told me that while every audience member can identify with a white male protagonist, white dudes can’t be counted on to identify with anyone who doesn’t look or live like they do,” recounted Jacobson, a longtime producer and film executive. “[It was] the ultimate combination of mansplaining and manspreading all balled up into one convenient premise which was, and still is, a bunch of bulls—.”
The audience cheered Jacobson’s declaration, which was bleeped but still made clear what the producer was expressing.
“You don’t have to be crazy, rich or Asian to relate to [author] Kevin Kwan’s storytelling, but you sure as hell have to be Asian to star in it,” Jacobson said. “And [director] John Chu assembled an insanely gifted cast of all-stars, anyone of whom could and should star in a movie of his or her own.”
“John, Kevin and our cast and crew were united by a sense of purpose and identity,” Jacobson added. “They knew how much was riding on the success of this movie. Representation is power and our movie, like so many of those nominated today, reminds us that audiences are hungry to see that power redistributed.”
Following their big win, Sandra Oh — who took home the award on Sunday for Best Actress in a Drama Series — ran up to the elated cast and excitedly embraced the actresses as they all posed for photos in the ballroom.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving. It is one of those things where I’ve been blessed to be a part of some amazing projects, and Crazy Rich Asians is right at the top,” Jeong marveled.
“No one knew that this movie would be as commercially successful as it is,” he added. “We all knew it would be a great movie, but for it to have that financial impact as well as a cultural impact, I’ve never been a part of anything on this level or as special as this.”
Check out the video below to hear more.