The award is given to actors “who dare to dream big dreams and delivers brilliantly charismatic and revelatory performances every time that opportunity knocks.”
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate and honor the 2019 Maui Film Festival’s brilliant Shining Star recipient Awkwafina, who is deservedly enjoying a stratospheric ride into the galaxy of cinematic stardom,” said Maui Film Festival founder and director Barry Rivers. “My best guess is that we have only just begun to enjoy her eclectic and powerful performances, as I’m sure she will delight and touch people around the world in many triumphant decades yet to come.”
Previous recipients of the Shining Star Award include Amber Heard, Adam Driver, Zac Efron, Andrew Garfield, Jake Gyllenhaal, Freida Pinto, Emma Roberts, and Olivia Wilde.
Following the award presentation on June 15 at the Celestial Cinema, the festival will screen Awkwafina’s upcoming film “The Farewell.” Awkwafina, whose given name is Nora Lum, stars in the the family drama about a woman returning to her family in China after her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It received overwhelmingly positive reviews after it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Awkwafina will also appear in both the “Jumanji” and “Angry Birds” sequels.