Golden Globes 2021: Highlights From the Show
Here’s what you need to know:On a chastening night for the Hollywood establishment, Netflix emerged as the big winner at a shambolic 78th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, taking home 10 trophies. Amazon became the first of the internet insurgents to win best motion picture comedy or musical, for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Apple TV+ and […]
Here’s what you need to know:

On a chastening night for the Hollywood establishment, Netflix emerged as the big winner at a shambolic 78th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, taking home 10 trophies. Amazon became the first of the internet insurgents to win best motion picture comedy or musical, for “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Apple TV+ and Hulu also received notable Globes.

But the old guard managed to hang on to the most prestigious prize: “Nomadland,” from the awards powerhouse Searchlight, owned by Disney, was honored as best drama. Standout individual winners included Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), who became the first woman to receive a Globe for directing in 37 years.

Zhao called her film a “pilgrimage through grief and healing” and quoted one of the nomads she met along the way who spoke about the definition of compassion as a “breakdown of all the barriers between us.”

Although the organization behind the Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was harshly criticized in recent days for its complete lack of Black members, voters put forward a roster of winners that was diverse. In a major upset, Andra Day received the Globe for best actress for her performance in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Chadwick Boseman was posthumously honored as best actor for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” released by Netflix.

In a year when almost all of the nominated films have bypassed theaters because of the pandemic, the Globes — the biggest-tent awards show there is, given its dual focus on film and television — felt in some ways rather small. Winners came from films like “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The Mauritanian,” which have struggled to get noticed. For many people, including some in Hollywood, it was hard to care about little golden thingamabobs at a time when the coronavirus is still killing roughly 2,000 Americans on most days.

After an awkward preshow, during which NBC presenters fawned over homebound nominees like Kate Hudson (“Music”) and Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton”), the ceremony jolted to a start with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returning as hosts. Fey thanked the smattering of first responders who attended the ceremony in person this time around “so the celebrities can stay safe at home.”

Appearing live from different locations (with technology that seemed to stitch them onto a shared stage) Fey and Poehler riffed on how to differentiate movies from television shows — not so easy in the pandemic age, when they have melded together on streaming services.

“TV is the one that I watch five hours straight, but a movie is the one I don’t turn on because it’s two hours,” Poehler joked. “I don’t want to be in front of my TV for two hours. I want to be in front of my TV for one hour, five times.”

As has become custom, the hosts mocked the organization behind the Golden Globes. They ended on a serious note, however, castigating the group for having no Black members.

“Maybe you guys didn’t get the memo,” Fey said. “But you guys gotta change that.”

The traditional engine of the Golden Globes, a colossal red carpet, did not exist this time around. The honorees were all at home. (Accepting trophies from mansions and luxury hotel rooms, tonally fine. Preening for hours for photographers while draped in diamonds and couture gowns, apparently not.) Fey hosted the ceremony from the Rainbow Room in New York, with Poehler stationed at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. A smattering of frontline and essential workers were invited to attend in person, but the usual ostentatious supper was scuppered.

The Globes arrived amid a renewed sense that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the scandal-prone group that bestows the awards, needs a dramatic overhaul. The 80-some voting members have long been painted as out of touch and faintly corrupt, including by their own hosts; Ricky Gervais referred to them as “vegetables” during last year’s live broadcast. But recent news reports have revealed brutal infighting and a questionable fixation on compensation.

The group has no Black members, The Los Angeles Times discovered. The uproar over that fact gained traction over the weekend as various Hollywood celebrities and industry guilds weighed in with their displeasure. The 18,000 member Directors Guild condemned the group on its Facebook page, writing: “A cosmetic fix isn’t enough. When whole cultures are shut out of the conversation, their art and their voices are shut out as well.”

Other critical voices included G.L.A.A.D, Times Up, Color of Change and others. Times Up began using the Twitter hashtag #TIMESUPGLOBES, and the advocacy group took out a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times. Ava DuVernay, who in 2015 was the first Black woman nominated as best director by the H.F.P.A., tweeted: “Old news. New energy.” Despite the uproar, it did not appear that anyone was sitting out the night’s festivities, including DuVernay, who was scheduled to introduce a clip of “Hamilton,” which is nominated for best comedy or musical.

“The truth that’s not often discussed is that awards play a part in the economic reality of Black filmmakers, artists of color and women creators in this business,” DuVernay said in a statement she posted on social media. “Unfortunately, these shiny things matter to those who finance, greenlight, produce, distribute and market our projects.”

Toward the beginning of the show, three members of the H.F.P.A. appeared onstage for less than a minute to pledge to improve the group’s diversity. Helen Hoehne, the vice president of the organization, said, “We must have Black journalists within our organization,” while the former president and board chair Meher Tatna added, “We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table,” adding that they “are going to make that happen.”

The group’s current president, Ali Sar, concluded that the H.F.P.A. would “create an environment where a diverse membership is the norm,” though he did not give any specifics.

Later, while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award, Jane Fonda urged Hollywood to do a better job at inclusion.

Jane Fonda spoke about the need for inclusion while accepting the Cecil B. Demille Award.Credit...NBC

“The story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry is which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out,” she said, adding, “Let’s all of us, including the groups who decide who gets hired, what gets made and who wins awards, make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heard.”

John Boyega won best supporting actor in a TV series for his role in Amazon’s “Small Axe.” Credit...Christopher Polk/Agence France-Presse, NBCUniversal, via Getty Images

As soon as nominations were announced on Feb. 3, the foreign press association was harshly criticized for overlooking films with mostly Black casts, including Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods.” But the ceremony began with back-to-back honors for Black actors. The night’s first winner was Daniel Kaluuya, for best supporting actor for his performance as the Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” John Boyega then won best supporting actor in a TV series for playing a police officer in Amazon’s “Small Axe.”

Pixar’s “Soul,” which featured a Black protagonist — an aspiring jazz musician in search of his inspiration — won the Globe for best animated film. In an awkward moment, Pete Docter, who directed “Soul,” and Dana Murray, the film’s primary producer, both of whom are white, gave live acceptance speeches while the film’s co-director, Kemp Powers, who is Black, seemed to receive short shrift, offering thanks in a taped video that played on Docter’s iPad. (Kemp had apparently been told only on Sunday that he was a nominee. Co-directors have been excluded in the past.)

“One Night in Miami,” a fact-based drama about a meeting of four Black luminaries, received three nominations, including for Regina King’s directing and Leslie Odom Jr.’s portrayal of Sam Cooke. The film’s best hope was in the song category, where its contemplative “Speak Now,” sung and co-written by Odom, drew a nod. But the Globe for best song unexpectedly went to Diane Warren and contributors for “Io Si,” from “The Life Ahead,” a Netflix entry.

The press association’s lack of diversity was a recurring motif throughout the show. “It’s great to be Black (back) at the Golden Globes,” said Sterling K. Brown when he took the stage with his “This Is Us” co-star Susan Kelechi Watson to present two awards.

Chadwick Boseman won a posthumous Globe for his lead performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Taylor Simone Ledward, Boseman’s widow, accepted Boseman’s award in the most emotional moment of the night. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history,” she said.

In a surprise, Andra Day won best actress in a drama for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”) were all considered strong contenders.

Chloé Zhao was one of three women nominated for best director.Credit...Searchlight Pictures/Hulu

Last year, controversy greeted the foreign press association’s nominees for directing. Once again, all five slots went to men. Only one woman had ever won the directing Globe: Barbra Streisand in 1984 for “Yentl.”

This year, Regina King, the force behind “One Night in Miami,” and Emerald Fennell, who directed “Promising Young Woman,” both received nominations — along with Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”), who won. The other nominees were David Fincher (“Mank”) and Aaron Sorkin, who directed “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Jason Sudeikis sported a casual look while accepting his award.Credit...NBC

The TV categories are something of an afterthought at the Globes, which draws its power from proximity to the Oscars. The foreign press association has tried to rectify the imbalance in recent years by rallying behind shows that have yet to pop. Globe voters, for instance, helped “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Transparent” gain wider attention. (On the other hand, the less said about their early support for “Mozart in the Jungle,” the better.)

But the H.F.P.A didn’t stick to its forward-thinking mantra this year and instead chose the Emmy winner “Schitt’s Creek” for best comedy.

Globe voters did give a boost to “Ted Lasso,” a freshman Apple TV+ sitcom. Jason Sudeikis, who stars in the series as a sweet and befuddled soccer coach, received the Globe for best actor in a comedy.

Sudeikis, sporting his character’s mustache, was one of the few nominees who eschewed the glam squad, showing up for his first Golden Globe win in a hooded sweatshirt and seemingly no planned speech. When he got “a little windy,” as he described it, his fellow nominee Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”) urged him to wrap it up in one of the lighter moments of the night.

Lee Isaac Chung said his daughter was the reason he made “Minari,” the winner for best foreign-language film.Credit...Christopher Polk/NBC

The celebrated “Minari,” about a Korean-American family in the Ozarks, was named best foreign-language film. (In a head-scratching policy for an awards show adjudicated by people from overseas, foreign-language films are ineligible for best picture accolades.)

Lee Isaac Chung, who wrote and directed the film, based on his upbringing as a Korean-American child in Oklahoma, addressed the controversy in his own way during his acceptance speech. With his young daughter on his lap — she was, he said, his reason for making the film — he said of “Minari”: “It’s about a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language or any foreign language. It’s a language of the heart. I’m trying to learn it myself and pass it on.”

Among TV shows, “The Crown” had a big night. It won best drama, while Emma Corrin received her first Globe for her uncanny portrayal of Princess Diana and Josh O’Connor won his first for his sniveling Prince Charles. Gillian Anderson won best supporting actress for playing Margaret Thatcher. It was the second Globe of her career. (Alas, the mouse from Episode 3 was not nominated.)

“The Queen’s Gambit” and its young star, Anya-Taylor Joy, won in the limited-series categories. It was the first best limited series win for Netflix.

Emma Corrin won best actress in a TV drama for her portrayal of Princess Diana in “The Crown,” which took home multiple awards.Credit...Des Willie/Netflix

Netflix was humiliated at the Globes last year. The streaming giant sashayed into the ceremony with a leading 34 total nominations and left … with one film award (Laura Dern won best supporting actress for “Marriage Story”) and one television honor (Olivia Colman, lauded for “The Crown”). Instead, voters mostly stuck with old-guard choices.

This go-round was different, though not as much as one would expect considering most of the traditional movie studios have been crippled by the pandemic.

Netflix entered the night with 42 nominations and scored big in the television categories, landing the top prizes for both “The Crown” (best drama) and “The Queen’s Gambit” (best limited series). The streaming giant had a tougher time in the film categories. “Mank” was snubbed completely, while “The Trial of the Chicago 7” walked away with only a screenplay award for Aaron Sorkin.

Amazon Studios was rewarded for its risk-taking on “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” which won both best actor for Sacha Baron Cohen and best picture in the musical/comedy category.

Yet, the major prize of the night, best drama, still remains elusive to the streamers, with the H.F.P.A awarding “Nomadland.”

Netflix also had a surprise win in the best actress, musical or comedy category for Rosamund Pike. She won for the recently-released “I Care a Lot,” beating out the predicted favorite, Maria Bakalova, who portrayed Borat’s daughter in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Pike saluted Bakalova in her acceptance speech, saying she would “never want to be in a room with Rudy Giuliani.”

Apple walked away with a win for Jason Sudeikis for “Ted Lasso” but couldn’t nab the comedy prize for the series.


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