Last night, Awkwafina became the first Asian American actress to host a North American awards show. She was amazing. She had a great time. She had a great time being, as Shonda Rhimes would say, an FOD (First Only Different). And how many of us would be able to be so present in that moment? I don’t think I could. It’s not in me. I’m too… tightly clenched. I would look back on it and say, “I wish I had just let myself enjoy it more”. Which is what Awkwafina did. She let herself enjoy it. Which doesn’t mean she didn’t do her job – she did her job, very well – but she also didn’t let the job become the experience. Everyone I know who worked with her this weekend, in rehearsals and during the show, fell in love. She was considerate. She was prepared. She had time for people. She talked to everyone. She met the crew, the production team, the writers, the handlers, she was kind and appreciative and also super fun with everyone. I know people who’ve been working on this show for years, who are used to producing big stars, used to the excitement, who turned into total fangirls after spending time with her. Awkwafina came through. 

For Awkwafina, this year, it’s been moment after moment after moment. She made history this weekend not only at the iHeartRadio MMVAs but at the box office. Crazy Rich Asians won the box office for the second weekend in a row, earning $25 million which is basically the same as last week, less just 6%. A 6% decrease is practically unprecedented. 

And there’s more:

People are going to see the movie three times, four times, five times. Asians, yes. But also non-Asians. Because… well… it’s not just that this movie tells a familiar story from a new perspective, it’s that people were just ready to watch romantic comedies. See also To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (hi Peter Kavinsky! How have I not mentioned you today yet?!). Ready enough to, as Jon M Chu has said, make plans, get in the car, drive to the theatre, spend a couple of hours away from home. Make it a night. A Crazy Rich Asians night. 

There’s a chance that CRA could go three for three. A chance. Let’s not call it before it happens. But let me brag here, because I have to ride this high – last November, when I wrote about the CRA release date, I compared it to a movie that came out at exactly the same time 31 years ago, a movie that became the sleeper hit that summer, and went on to become one of the most iconic movies of all time: Dirty Dancing. Magic!  

Here’s Awkwafina in several different outfits at the MMVAs last night. My favourite, and it was the right choice, was the Versus black and white with matching booties she wore on the carpet. A perfect, perfect outfit for the event.