It’s also a launching pad for fresh faces like Constance Wu and Henry Golding, who play the movie’s central lovers Rachel Chu and Nick Young, and marks Awkwafina’s second scene-stealing role this summer after Ocean’s 8. And thanks to enthusiastic reviews from critics and the ecstatic reactions of early-screening audiences, the movie has already made crazy amounts of money at the box office, which means that the first of Kwan’s two sequel novels may be coming to theaters as early as next August.

Can someone help me to understand "marks Awkwafina’s second scene-stealing role"? Does Awkwafina’s scene-stealing role mean Awkwafina is the scene stealer, or someone else steals the scene from Awkwafina?

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Awkwafina is the scene stealer and it's the second role she's had in a movie this year that she has done this. A scene stealer is a supporting role that either outshines or becomes more memorable than the main stars. This is mostly good for her as it becomes more likely she will offered more substantial roles in the future.

  • it doesn't always have to be a secondary actor who steals a scene from a main actor. It could also be a main actor who simply eclipses all of the other roles or events and who makes the scene famous. Aug 21, 2018 at 14:02

When we find a present participle used as an adjective (a participial adjective) on a noun, it almost always means that the noun is actively doing the thing. For example,

  • a frightening dog (the dog is frightening someone else, not being frightened)
  • a running motor (the motor is running, although someone else might have caused it to run)
  • a smoking chimney (the chimney is emitting smoke, although there might be something else that made it do that)

In "Awkwafina’s second scene-stealing role", the role is scene-stealing, so your first interpretation is correct. The sentence is a little hard to understand because it's a little strangely worded to say the role is scene-stealing; usually we say the actor or actress, or their performance, is scene-stealing in the role.

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