Comedian Ali Wong made history at the 2023 Emmy Awards on Sunday night, becoming the first Asian American to win Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her role in “Beef.” Her rumored boyfriend, Bill Hader, was on hand to celebrate Wong’s career-defining moment.
Wong’s Groundbreaking Emmy Victories
Wong took home two Emmy statuettes for her acclaimed performance as one of five Asian American women at the center of the A24/Netflix limited series “Beef.”
Not only did Wong nab Lead Actress, but she also shared in “Beef’s” Outstanding Limited Series victory as a producer. In capturing the top actress prize, Wong bested a competitive field that included Amanda Seyfried (“The Dropout”) and Lily James (“Pam and Tommy”).
Her wins capped a remarkable awards season run for both Wong and “Beef,” which chronicles the real-life rivalry between two competing San Gabriel Valley taco trucks. The show has been roundly praised for its fresh portrayal of Asian American stories.
Earlier this year, “Beef” dominated the Golden Globe Awards, where it won awards for Best Limited Series and Best Actress in a Limited Series for Wong.
Wong was visibly emotional and candid during her acceptance speeches. She thanked her “Baby Cobra” director and “fellow Asian American pioneer” Justin Hakuta, whom she divorced in 2020 after nearly 7 years of marriage.
Wong and Hader Share Sweet Moment
Wong attended the Emmys ceremony with Bill Hader, her rumored beau and the creator/star of “Barry.” While the two have mostly kept their relationship out of the spotlight, they shared a publicly affectionate moment during the show.
After Wong’s name was called for Lead Actress, Hader quickly stood up to give her a kiss and escort her to the stage. He gazed adoringly at Wong as she delivered her heartfelt speeches.
Later at the Governors Ball, the couple was spied walking hand-in-hand, appearing smitten. According to onlookers, Hader affectionately embraced Wong from behind at one point during the evening.
Over the past year, Wong and Hader have occasionally stepped out together at industry events like the Critics Choice Awards. But Sunday night marked their most overt display of togetherness yet.
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series
|Outstanding Limited Series
|Best Actress in a Limited Series
|Best Limited Series
Praise for Wong’s Performances
In its rave review of “Beef,” Vanity Fair singled out Wong’s “incandescent” work, declaring that she “not only stands toe-to-toe with the remarkable ensemble but emerges as its brightest star.”
Critics have hailed Wong’s versatility in disappearing into the role of unassuming Chinese immigrant Ivy, while also showcasing her innate comedic gifts.
The New Yorker‘s television critic Emily Nussbaum described Wong’s performance as “a tricky needle to thread between naturalism and satire. Yet scene by scene, Wong pulls it off.”
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter suggested Wong has carved out “a singular space for herself as a true crossover star” with her “fully realized dramatic turn” in “Beef.”
Wong’s Emmy victories seem poised to elevate her Hollywood status even higher.
Backstage, a jubilant Wong gave advice to up-and-coming Asian American performers: “It’s important that we all try to be the people that we needed when we were younger.”
Wong Part of Banner Year for Asian Representation
Wong now joins a growing list of Asian American Emmy winners, including Sandra Oh, Ramy Yousef and Lee Jung-jae.
Many have noted that Wong’s historic Emmy triumph comes during a watershed year for Asian representation across films and television.
In addition to “Beef,” 2023 has seen the release of acclaimed Asian-led projects like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and Netflix’s “All the Light We Cannot See.” Both star former Emmy winners Henry Golding and Steven Yeun, respectively.
Earlier this year, Wong’s “Beef” co-star Steven Yeun also made history as the first Asian American to earn a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy.
In her speech, Wong praised the works of Asian American pioneers like Oh that paved the way for current breakthroughs:
“Thank you to all the Asian American performers and creators who kicked down the doors beforehand so I could walk right through.”
Meanwhile, critics believe Wong’s victories will spur more opportunities for Asian American creatives both in front of and behind the camera.
What’s Next for Wong?
In the wake of her Emmy triumphs, Wong’s Hollywood stock seems destined for even greater heights.
With her sharp comedic skills and acting range, Wong appears poised to land more high-profile film and TV projects focused on Asian American stories.
Wong will next be seen in the romantic comedy “The Perfect Find,” portraying an eccentric Singaporean billionaire. She also has a voice role in the animated fantasy film “Wish,” featuring an all Asian cast including Golding, Yeun and Constance Wu.
On the small screen, Wong is already prepping her return to Netflix in a currently untitled comedy series. She is co-writing, executive producing and starring in the show centered around a burnt-out homemaker whose life is changed by an old college friend.
Given the recent successes of “Beef” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Hollywood seems hungry for more authentically Asian-focused content. And Wong now sits at the center of those efforts as both a creative driving force and bankable star.
After her astonishing Emmy night, the possibilities for Wong appear endless. We can’t wait to see the ground she’ll break next.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.