Chinese star Zhao Shuzhen is earning Oscar buzz for her work as the matriarch Nai Nai in “The Farewell” — she plays a grandmother with a terminal cancer diagnosis of which she is unaware, and her family members try to keep her from learning about it.
“I didn’t know it was such a phenomenon!” the 76-year-old Chinese actress told the New York Times in early November, at an awards-season screening in Beverly Hills.
It was Shuzhen’s first-ever trip to the United States, and she’d been caught off guard when people at the screening recognized her.
Though “The Farewell” was Shuzhen’s American debut, she is well-known in China, where she appears in several television dramas a year.
Since its July release in the United States, “The Farewell” has become one of the year’s highest-grossing independent films.