“Wow, another amazing, weird, wonderful Golden Globes,” co-host Amy Poehler said to wrap up the Golden Globes this Sunday. And weird it was. Meme-able Zoom fails, the “Emily in Paris” (2020) and “Prom” (2020) nomination debacle and the strangeness of watching Hollywood stars sitting at home in their living rooms decked out in full glam. Although, Jason Sudeikis notably accepted his award for Best Television Actor in a Musical or Comedy in an already-internet-famous tie-dye sweatshirt. This year’s Globes were weird, sure, but then again, when are they not?
First and foremost, this year’s Golden Globe Awards were overshadowed by a recent surfacing of the fact that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the 87-person group of international journalists who decide the awards, doesn’t have a single Black member — and hasn’t in the last 20 years. While outrageous on its own, the controversy was amplified when the HFPA passed over several Black-led, critically acclaimed films from the past year for Best Picture, including “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2021), “Da 5 Bloods” (2020), “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” (2021) and “One Night in Miami” (2020).
After a few jesting roasts of this issue in their opening monologue, Poehler and co-host Tina Fey eventually called out the HFPA for their lack of diversity: Poehler said, “Everyone is, understandably, upset at the HFPA and their choices. Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens, okay? That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Fey continued, “And look, we all know that awards shows are stupid … even with stupid things, inclusivity is important, and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press. You’ve gotta change that. So here’s to changing it.”
Though this issue underscored the entire ceremony — Jane Fonda used her time accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award to speak on the importance of representation — a few moments of triumph for actors and filmmakers of color still managed to give space to the voices of marginalized communities. Chloé Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker, became the second woman and the first woman of color to win Best Director at the Golden Globes for her film “Nomadland” (2021), which also won Best Motion Picture — Drama.
Andra Day won Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday”; Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for “Judas and the Black Messiah”; “Minari” (2020) won the best Foreign Language film award; “Soul” (2020) won Best Picture — Animated and Best Original Score; and, with a tearful and moving acceptance speech by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward, the late Chadwick Boseman won the award for Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2020).
On the television side, “The Crown” (2016–) cleaned house with a win for Best Television Series — Drama as well as wins for Emma Corrin, Josh O’Connor and Gillian Anderson (Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter also scored nominations); “Schitt’s Creek” (2015–2020) dominated the comedy category (Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy and Catherine O’Hara for Actress in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy); and “The Queen’s Gambit” (2020) scored a win for Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and Anya Taylor-Joy for Best Actress — Mini-Series or Television Film. In addition, the Cecil B. DeMille award went to Jane Fonda, as mentioned, and the Carol Burnett Award went to television giant Norman Lear.
As for the event itself, comedy bits, mishaps and Zoom awkwardness reigned supreme. The Globes were hosted this year (weirdly enough) with Poehler in Los Angeles and Fey in New York, with first responders attending in person, socially distanced and masked, while all the celebrities video-called in from home. Notably funny moments include when sweatshirt-clad Sudeikis made his rambling, yet strangely grounded acceptance speech (during which Don Cheadle made a loving “wrap-it-up” motion); Kaluuya’s audio cut out during his acceptance speech; Tracy Morgan cracked up after he mispronounced “Soul” as “Sal”; Emma Corrin showed off her cat to Olivia Colman; Maya Rudolph and Kenan Thompson accepted a joke award for Least Original Song as Beverly Jackfruit and François Jean-Rudy; and Sandra Oh tried a hilariously awkward photobomb bit featuring dinosaurs on a sled behind her while she presented “Palm Springs” (2020) as a nominee for Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy.
Like a lot of things this year, the awkward pandemic setup worked as was probably expected — far from normally, but about as close to normally as we’re going to get for this year’s slate of awards shows. At least we can finally rest easy knowing that we won’t have to say “Golden Globe-winning series ‘Emily in Paris.’”