Crazy Rich Asians just landed two Golden Globe nominations, a feat director Jon M. Chu considers, well, crazy — in a good way.
“It’s insane,” he says. “It’s been a wild ride.”
A wild ride indeed. Crazy Rich Asians faced seemingly insurmountable pressure from the beginning, as the first Hollywood film in 25 years to feature an all-Asian principal cast, with Asian-Americans in lead roles. But instead of being buried by that burden, the film became one of 2018’s biggest, most critically acclaimed success stories of the year.
And now, it’s officially entered the awards fray. Chu learned of the Golden Globe nominations while watching the live-stream from Vancouver, where he’s filming a pilot. (He notes he’d been up since 4 a.m. anyway, thanks to his baby.) “We were literally screaming around the house,” he confesses to hearing of their first nod, for star Constance Wu in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, category. “I’m so excited for her. It’s so well-deserved. She’s been such a great leader and voice, not just in our movie but on TV.”
The film itself was nominated a few minutes later for Best Picture, Comedy or Musical. To Chu, that honor further acknowledges the importance — and the arrival — of Asian representation in mainstream Hollywood after a decades-long drought. “What a movement, and to be honored by the very community we’re trying to push the boundaries of, and to open their eyes to new types of stories, it means even more,” Chu says. “I’ve been around long enough to know that moments like this don’t come around all the time. It was going to happen — whether it’s us or someone else — at some point, so I just feel blessed I got a front row seat to the change that’s happening now.”
In fact, Chu points out with a laugh, the feeling of being seen on the awards stage can be compared to Crazy Rich Asians‘ own message. “If the industry was Eleanor Young saying, ‘No, you’ll never be enough,’ I think [these nominations] show that we were always enough, and I’m just really proud,” he says. “I would have never predicted in a million years that we would get this far.”
“This felt like the electricity turned on, and we could all connect,” he adds of watching the Asian community respond to the film. “I think that’s what I’m more blown away by than anything.”
Now, after the success of Crazy Rich Asians, Chu has become busier than ever. He’ll head to New York next to shoot In the Heights, the adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical, and then begin work on a slate of other projects, including the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians.
But before tackling any of that, he’s got one more thing on his plate to handle first.
“I gotta call my parents,” he admits, laughing. “I don’t think they know what’s happening.”