Aziz Ansari will go down in history as the first actor of Asian descent to win a best actor category award at the Golden Globes.
On the night of Jan. 7, Aziz Ansari won the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. He snagged the award for his performance as the Aziz Ansari-like commercial actor Dev Shah in the hugely popular Netflix show “Master of None.” He is also the show’s co-creator, writer, and director.
“I genuinely didn’t think I would win because all the websites said I was going to lose,” Ansari, who’s Indian American, joked during his acceptance speech. He then got bleeped out as he described how it would probably have felt if he had lost out on the award the second time. “I’m glad we won this one because it would’ve really sucked to lose two of these in a row. It would’ve been a really sh*tty moment for me, but this is nice.”
Ansari’s historic win, however, somehow highlights the glaring disparity in available roles for Asians in the entertainment industry.
At this year’s Golden Globes, there were only two Asian actors nominated: Ansari and Hong Chau for “Downsizing.” They represent about 3 percent of the actors recognized in the American film and TV industry.
In the awards’ 75-year history, only Vic Tayback (Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in 1980 for “Alice”), Haing S. Ngor (Best Supporting Actor in 1984 for “The Killing Fields”), Peg Tilly (Best Supporting Actress in 1986 for “Agnes of God”), and Sandra Oh (Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for “Grey’s Anatomy”) have won acting awards, all of them for supporting roles.
Ansari’s win was among several historic moments at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony.
“This Is Us” star Sterling K. Brown became the first Black man to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor In Drama TV Series. And Oprah Winfrey became the first Black woman to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award. In accepting it, she touched on the importance of representation for different racial and ethnic groups in such honors.