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Photo: Golden Globes 2021 Winners/NBC
Who were the biggest winners at the 78th Golden Globes?
As far as television series go, the clear winner of the night was the latest season of Netflix’s ‘The Crown.’ The riveting biographical drama swept at the Globes winning the categories of Best Drama TV series, best-supporting actress for Gillian Anderson’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, best actor for Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, and best actress for Emma Corrin’s performance as the iconic Princess Diana.
One of the most joyful moments of the night came in the form of ‘Nomadland’ director Chloe Zhao becoming the first woman to win the best director award in over 30 years. ‘Nomadland’ also scored the best motion picture drama Golden Globe, marking it as a clear standout in the impending Oscars race.
The most emotionally affecting moment of the night arrived with Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous win in the category of best actor in a motion picture drama for his performance in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’
Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, delivered the acceptance speech on Chadwick’s behalf, saliently summarizing the awe-inspiring potential award shows like the Golden Globes hold, “Thank God, thank his parents, thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifice… He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside all of us that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you’re meant to be doing in this moment in history. I don’t have his words but we have to take a moment to celebrate those we love. So thank you HFPA for the opportunity to do exactly that.”
Leading Up to A Unique Golden Globes 2021
The coronavirus pandemic has made many enemies since its reckoning began in early 2020. Almost all factions of life became restrained as a result of the devastating pandemic. Although nowhere near as heartbreaking as the lives taken by the pandemic, one of the most prominent facets of society affected by COVID-19 has been the entertainment industry.
There was a two-month delay, but the Golden Globes happened during the pandemic. The timing was the biggest shortcoming of the entire show, but that was a given due to the technological setbacks, differences in people’s locations, and overall, the uniqueness of the show in the history of award shows. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did phenomenal jobs as hosts and delivered witty, sharp, meaningful jokes that made the show captivating from the very beginning. There were definitely faults and stumbles along the way, but for the most part, the production crew behind this show pulled off a historical event and delivered a somewhat normal show that reflected the reality of the global atmosphere we live in.
As movie studios were forced to halt production of upcoming films and theaters had to shut their doors in order to adhere to safety regulations in hopes to curb the spread of the harmful virus, the priceless escape that film and television offered was stripped from global audiences. This left both creators and audiences extremely vulnerable to the drab reality of quarantine living, and in desperate need of lifted spirits. This overwhelming communal desire for entertainment and a return to normal has culminated in the 78th Golden Globes, the world’s first chance to celebrate film and television in the age of COVID.
Year after year, the Golden Globes prove themselves to be the most fun night in Hollywood as the blend of the season’s best film and television series result in a thoroughly entertaining night full of star-studded moments. 2021’s Golden Globes had the daunting task of hitting all the dynamic marks of the past years within the grim coronavirus-infested world of today. This meant that the banquet typically inundated with A-list celebrities would have to be sacrificed, additionally, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association decided to push back the 2020 deadline to allow for some extra films to qualify during the slim year in movies. While the magic of the previous years could never be replicated under these circumstances, the Golden Globes did their best to make sure the 2021 ceremony would be one worth watching.
Synopsis – The 78th Golden Globes (Almost) Go Off Without a Glitch
First off, they corralled two of their most remarkable hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, to return to lead the show in what turned out to be a much-needed breath of nostalgic hilarity. The Globes cleverly utilized the two comedians in order to broaden their reach under COVID restriction, having Fey broadcasting live from New York City’s Rainbow Room and Poehler from Los Angeles’s The Beverly Hilton.
While the adjustments made to the Globe in order to produce a successful show were admirable, the coronavirus-proof ceremony did not go off without any hiccups. Notably, after Daniel Kaluuya won the first award of the night for his Best Supporting Role in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah,’ the audio for Kaluuya’s acceptance speech was muted, leaving a frazzled Laura Dern to haphazardly redirect the audience away from the actor’s momentous win. Fortunately, the Globes was able to rekindle the internet connection with Kaluuya and restore the viewer’s faith in the award ceremony’s ability to pull off the show.
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Aside from Tina and Amy having a few off moments delivering lines from opposite coasts, the Golden Globes was largely successful in functioning as a virtual awards show, despite Fey’s comment that “This could’ve been an email.” The Globes were even able to make some new fantastic moments out of the bizarre situation COVID set such as a strange, uncomfortably long acceptance speech from Maya Rudolph and Kenan Thompson, a spoof and homage to the annual hard-to-watch acceptance speech of yore. Another great segment like this came in the form of actors like Glenn Close and Andrew Rannolds consulting doctors on how to live through COVID, contrasting the stark realities of Hollywood and coronavirus life.
It is 2021 and Yet – Sadly, Disturbingly and Terrifyingly, Still No Black Members or Voters
Before digging into the awards, nominees, key moments, and the show itself; one key fact about the award show that cannot be ignored is the none of the members that voted for the films are Black, nor have there been Black members in two decades, something The Hollywood Foreign Press Association needs to be held accountable for and change immediately. This is unfair, and a problem that needs to be dismantled and prevented for the rest of the history of the Golden Globes, the entertainment industry, and society as a whole.
Everyone loves a good old-fashioned awards show, but what is it about these ceremonies that demand such exclusivity? The entertainment industry can only be as just as the society it entertains, ensuring that the racial bias of American politics would persevere in the form of award shows from the Academy Awards to the Golden Globes. Several movements have come out to denounce the exclusion of Black and other marginalized stories from nominations such as 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite; however, this year’s Golden Globe nominees reminded the world of just how little progress has been made in the industry of entertainment. Although there were several top tiers shows centered around Black stories in 2020, such as ‘Lovecraft Country’ and ‘I May Destroy You,’ which was widely regarded as the best original show of 2020, none of their Black stars were nominated for their groundbreaking performances. Following the backlash for this whitewashing, it was exposed that the Hollywood Foreign Press has not had a black member in over 20 years.
The Globes Promise to Do Better
This complete failure in curating a culturally responsible committee to nominate and vote for the best entertainment of the year resulted in a white-sided list of nominees that worked in silencing the beautiful Black stories told in 2020 and early 2021. The Golden Globes were quick and consistent in condemning their anti-Black actions from the start of their 78th award ceremony, as Fey and Poehler started off the show agreeing that the HFPA was wrong and must do better next year. Other moments of the Globes attempting to revolutionize their honoring of diverse stories came in the accolades they awarded to Norman Lear, the creator of ‘All in the Family’ of which they celebrated for being the first sitcom to ever bring up vital social issues such as white privilege. The Golden Globes also awarded legendary actress and activist Jane Fonda the prestigious Demille award, noting her exceptional work as an ally for social justice. Fonda was forward-thinking enough to even give a shoutout to ‘Ramy’ and ‘I May Destroy You’ for their renowned, diverse storytelling. Although it is clear that the Golden Globes is far from a beacon of hope for a more inclusive entertainment industry, they have pledged to do better and as lovers of film and television, we must hold them to this promise.
The Winners Take It All
Beyond all of the politics and safety protocols of the night, the Golden Globes are ultimately about celebrating the very best of film and television, and this year was no exception.
Aside from ‘The Crown’ and its huge victory, ‘Schitt’s Creek’ also enjoyed a successful night winning in the categories of best comedy series and best actress in a comedy series which went to the incomparable Catherine O’Hara. The last of the television shows to stun at this year’s Globes was ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ which earned praise in the categories of best TV movie or limited-series as well as best actress in a TV movie or limited-series for Anya Taylor-Joy’s stellar performance.
While the television Globes were largely relegated to a few shows, the awards for the year’s films were much more varied. Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’ also did quite well, earning the Globes for best motion picture musical or comedy and best actor in a musical or comedy which went to comedy genius Cohen himself. Other notable winners include Andra Day who won for her mesmerizing portrayal of legendary jazz singer, Billie Holiday, in ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday.’
Related article: The Biggest Golden Globes 2021 Snubs and Film Upsets
All the Nominees and Winners of Golden Globes 2021
Best Supporting Actor
Best Actor in a Television Role
Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series Comedy or Musical
Best Animated Motion Picture
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Mark Ruffalo won for ‘I Know This Much Is True’.
Best Screenplay Motion Picture
Best Performance By an Actress in a Television Series – Drama
Best Original Song – Motion Picture
Laura Pausini and Diane Warren won for their song Io si (Seen) in ‘The Life Ahead’.
The nominees were ‘Fight For You’ by H.E.R., Dernst Emile, and Tiara Thomas for ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, ‘Hear My Voice’ by Daniel Pemberton, and Celeste Waite for ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’, ‘Speak Now’ by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth for ‘One Night in Miami’, ‘Io si (Seen)’ by Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, and Niccolo Agliardi for ‘The Life Ahead’, and ‘Tigress and Tweed’ by Raphael Saadiq and Andra Day for ‘The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’.
Related article: ‘The Crown’: The Majestic Fourth Season Adds Another Dazzling Jewel
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Best Actor in a TV Series – Musical or Comedy
The winner was Jason Sudeikis for his work for ‘Ted Lasso’. He, in a way, humbly denied the award through an allegorical Leo Tolstoy quote and said the actors he worked with deserved it. Don Cheadle jokingly told him to wrap it up.
Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy
The winner was ‘Schitt’s Creek’. Dan Levy accepted the award.
The nominees were ‘The Great’, ‘Emily in Paris’, ‘The Flight Attendant’ and ‘Ted Lasso’.
Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
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Best Performance By an Actor in a Television Series – Drama
The winner was Josh O’Connor for ‘The Crown’, who expressed his appreciation for being able to work and that society will put mental health awareness at the front of our minds in his acceptance speech.
The nominees were Jason Bateman’s ‘Ozark’, Bob Odenkirk for ‘Better Call Saul’, Al Pacino for ‘Hunters’, and Mathew Reese for ‘Perry Mason’.
Best Motion Picture in a Foreign Language
The winner was ‘Minari’.
The nominees were ‘Another Round’ – Denmark, ‘La Llorona’ – Guatemala/France, ‘The Life’ – Italy and ‘Two Of Us’ – France/USA.
Best TV Series – Drama
The winner was ‘The Crown’.
The nominees were ‘Lovecraft Country’, ‘The Mandalorian’, ‘Ozark’, and ‘Ratched’.
Best Supporting Actress In a Motion Picture
The winner was Jodie Foster for ‘The Mauritanian’.
Best Actress in a Supporting TV Role
The winner was Gillian Anderson for ‘The Crown’.
Helena Bonham Carter for ‘The Crown’, Julia Garner for ‘Ozark’, Annie Murphy for ‘Schitt’s Creek’, and Cynthia Nixon for ‘Ratched’.
Best Performance By An Actress in a Limited Series, Anthony Series, Or Motion Picture Made for Television
The winner was Anya Taylor-Joy for ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.
Best TV Limited Series, Anthology Series, Or Motion Picture for TV
The winner was ‘The Queen’s Gambit’.
The nominees were ‘Normal People’, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’, ‘Small Axe’, ‘The Undoing’, and ‘Unorthodox’.
Best Performance by An Actor in a Motion Picture Drama
The winner was Chadwick Boseman for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’.
Boseman’s wife Taylor Simone Ledward accepted on behalf of Chadwick and gave an emotional tribute to the wonderful artist. She delivered a tearful response, saying he would “thank God, thank his parents, thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifice. He would thank his incredible team, he would thank his team on set for the film, he would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside all of us that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you’re meant to be doing at this moment in history. I don’t have his words but we have to take a moment to celebrate those we love… so thank you HFPA for the opportunity to do exactly that, and hon… you keep em coming. Thank you.”
The nominees were Anthony Hopkins for ‘The Father’, Gary Oldman for ‘Mank’, and Tahar Rahim for ‘The Mauritanian’.
Best Motion Picture – Director
For the first time in the Golden Globes history, three women were nominated for Best Motion Picture – Director. The winner was Chloe Zhao for ‘Nomadland’.
The nominees were Emerald Finelli for ‘Promising Young Woman’, David Fincher for ‘Mank’, Regina King for ‘One Night in Miami’, Aaron Sorkin for ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’, and Chloe Zhao for ‘Nomadland’.
Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Barb and Star hilariously presented the award, and the winner was ‘Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm’, Sacha Baron Cohen gave a comical response, thanking Rudy Guiliani for his comedy skills.
Best Performance By An Actor in Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
The winner was Sacha Baron Cohen for ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’.
The nominees were Sacha Baron Cohen for ‘Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’, James Corden for ‘The Prom’, Lin Manuel Miranda for ‘Hamilton’, Dev Patel for ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’, and Andy Samberg for ‘Palm Springs’.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture
The winner was Andra Day for ‘The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’, who delivered a joyful, tear-filled acceptance speech where she was surrounded by family and friends cheering along with her.
The nominees were Viola Davis for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’, Andra Day for ‘The U.S. Vs. Billie Holiday, Vanessa Kirby for ‘Pieces of a Woman’, Frances McDormand for ‘Nomadland’, and Carey Mulligan for ‘Promising Young Woman’.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
The winner was ‘Nomadland’.
The nominees were ‘The Father’, ‘Mank’, ‘Nomadland’, ‘Promising Young Woman’, and ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’.
Key Moments From The Show
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler came from separate sides of the country but looked like they were side by side on stage. They came in hot with a beautifully paced witty set of jokes each time they were on stage, which can be attributed to their impressive resume, experience, and a strong team of writers. They provided commentary about the night’s events, the tone of it, and were quick on their feet, with a calming poise that made the show engaging and fun.
Daniel Kaluuya was almost unable to give his speech because of audio issues, but then he gave a beautiful acceptance speech.
While Catherine O’ Hara was giving her acceptance speech, her husband was playing music on his phone that almost drowned out her audio.
A statement was made by the HFPA where they acknowledged that Black journalists need to be in their organization and they’re going to make that happen.
Mark Ruffalo gave a moving heartfelt and tear-filled speech about inclusion, love, and support.
Kenan Thompson and Maya Rudolph had a hilarious mock acceptance speech and played comical characters that had fun pushing boundaries and stepping over the line at every opportunity, and were funny each time.
Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award, with many celebrities showing their respect and appreciation of him and his contribution to television and media. His progressivism was highlighted especially. Norman Lear’s acceptance speech was tear-jerking as he went into detail about the long list of people and companies who helped make him who he is throughout the past two centuries.
Tracy Morgan mispronounced the title of the movie ‘Soul’ as Sal when announcing the winner of the award.
Frida mom had the first commercial that showed a woman lactating.
Sterling K. Brown made a fitting and much-deserved joke “it’s great to be black – back – at the Golden Globes.”
Sean Penn accepted a donation from the HFPA on behalf of Core.
There was a hilarious sketch where celebrities and their characters ask doctors random questions.
Jane Fonda was presented with the prestigious Cecil B. Demille award. The appreciation video from the countless celebrities that look up to her was powerful and was a fitting tribute to Jane Fonda’s incredible career. Her acceptance speech was a moving take on diversity, inclusion, and spiritual awakening, and gave shout-outs to ‘Ramy’ and ‘I May Destroy You’.
Barb and Star made an appearance, and they hilariously did a bit about being in Hollywood, then presented an award with a strong, comical delivery.
This year’s Golden Globes was fun, and the jokes were solid throughout, especially considering the circumstances. Though there were some fumbles along the way, the show was actually a lot better than what it’s been in years past when the ceremony was held in person. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did a spectacular job hosting, as they always do, and each cameo was entertaining, purposeful, and seemed more authentic than previous shows, which tend to be more on the tacky side. The entire crew responsible for putting everything together deserves to be applauded, as there were minimal mistakes.
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Armando Brigham is a writer, comedian, and actor who blends his adoration of film & TV with his passion for writing. Armando has a keen interest in the powerful impact art and entertainment can make. He sets out to write features and reviews full of honesty, encouragement, and vigor, which is why he’s writing for the Hollywood Insider, a place that champions facts, quality writing, and building art up.