Ali Wong and Steven Yeun have been sweeping awards season’s limited season categories for their show Beef, which aired on Netflix in 2023.
In “Beef,” Wong plays Amy, a small business owner wife and mother on the verge of a major deal that would make her a multimillionaire. She runs afoul of Steven Yeun’s Danny in a road rage incident, a hustling contractor not averse to shady dealings. Neither can let go of this encounter and this entwines their lives soon unfolding chaos. The series led the limited-series field with 13 Emmy nominations.
At the 2023 Emmy Awards held on January 15 2024, not only did Ali Wong become a first time Emmy Winner winning the Emmy for best actress in a limited series but she also made history as the first woman of Asian descent to ever win an Emmy for a lead role.
Sandra Oh who is Asian Canadian has been nominated three times in the drama series category, and 13 times in total, including as the executive producer of “Killing Eve.” She was the first woman of Asian descent to be nominated in a lead acting category, for “Killing Eve” in 2018. The haul of nominations for 1981’s Japan-set limited series Shōgun included one for leading lady Yôko Shimada. Asian British actor Archie Panjabi became the first performer of Asian descent to win an acting Emmy for her supporting work in the drama series “The Good Wife” in 2010.
In her acceptance speech Wong took the time to thank her parents and her children after thanking her team behind Beef, “I wouldn’t be standing here without my parents, my amazing parents, my mother and my father who I so wish was alive to share this moment with me,” said Wong “My hilarious father who loved me unconditionally and taught me the value of failure.” She went on to thank her daughters Mari, 8, and Nikki, 6 — whom she shares with ex-husband Justin Hakuta. “To my beautiful daughters, you are my everything and thank you for inspiring me. This is for you.”
Wong received her first Emmy nomination last year, for writing her third comedy special, Ali Wong: Don Wong. Her three Emmy nominations this year include another one for Beef as executive producer as well as best voiceover acting for her animated comedy Tuca & Bertie (that win went to Maya Rudolph for Big Mouth). In 2017 British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed made history as the first Asian male star to win an acting prize at the Primetime Emmy Awards. Similarly, Wong herself has made history or should I say, herstory.
Wong’s incredible role as Amy Lau in Beef has won her a Golden Globe (another historic first) as well as the Gotham and Critics Choice awards, the Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild awards still pending, however Beef’s sweep may continue as there seems to be no stopping the talented Ali Wong this season.
Watch her acceptance speech below:
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 16, 2024