Another day, another reason to say South Asian pride, FTW. At last night’s 23rd Critics Choice Awards, hosted by Asian-American actress Olivia Munn, “The Big Sick” swept up the trophy for Best Comedy. Written by husband and wife duo Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the story of this film is inspired by their own relationship.
As the two came up on stage with the their team to accept this award, they emphasized the importance of their movie coming out at a time when Hollywood is embroiled in difficult but necessary conversations and the need to amplify certain voices. They also proved they’re a hella cute team
In “The Big Sick,” Nanjiani plays a version of himself and Zoe Kazan plays Emily Gardner, both of whom were nominated for their beautiful performances. A struggling stand-up comedian whos one-man show is about his Pakistani roots, Kumail has a one-night stand with Emily and slowly it blooms into something deeper. Unfortunately, they break up and weeks later, she’s hospitalized and is an induced coma. Kumail spends time in the hospital with her parents Beth and Terry (Holly Hunter, Ray Romano) and eventually, even helps diagnose Emily’s Still’s disease.
The movie is a love story wrapped in an emotional drama wrapped in a brilliantly written comedy. It also stars other South Asian actors like Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Shenaz Treasury in prominent roles. In a year of terrific and brave films like “Lady Bird,” “I, Tonya,” and “Get Out,” its refreshing to see the impact of “The Big Sick.” Who knew the compelling story of this biracial couple would garner this much love and attention?
For Nanjiani, 2017 has proved to be a fantastic year. Besides this movie, the fourth season of his HBO comedy “Silicon Valley” was met with acclaim. He was nominated as Best Supporting Actor - Comedy for his role as Dinesh Chugtai at the Critics Choice Awards as well but he lost out to “Vice Principals” actor Walton Goggins. In October, Nanjiani hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, becoming the second South Asian actor to do so after Aziz Ansari’s stint in January 2017. He also starred in “Fist Fight” and “Lego Ninja Movie” last year. Clearly, this is only a launching point for him.
Ansari, who made history at the Golden Globes award last weekend for his lead role on “Master of None,” was nominated in the same category at the Critic’s Choice Awards but he lost to “The Good Place” actor Ted Danson. But hey, he showed up looking dapper AF, making us swoon in our seats.
While there were many similarities in the winners of the Critics Choice Awards and this year’s Golden Globe winners like Sterling K. Brown, Elisabeth Moss, Nicole Kidman, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Big Little Lies” sweeping up trophies, the underlying message is the same. It’s time for movies and television shows that tell unique narratives and embolden the voices of women and people of color. And recognizing Nanjiani and Ansari is just the beginning for South Asian-American talent.