This year’s Golden Globes will probably be mostly associated with the things that happened around them: poor diversity when it comes to nominees, lack of thereof when it comes to the organisation behind the awards (HFPA), and, last but not least, the coronavirus pandemic, which affected both the gala and the awards season as a whole.
Nevertheless, I will also associate Globes 2021 with a few pleasant surprises which maybe won’t have a huge impact on the awards season but are an interesting step forward in the Golden Globes voting nevertheless. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Here’s the list of the winners:
- Best actor in a supporting role in a film: Daniel Kaluuya — Judas and the Black Messiah
- Best actor in a supporting role in television: John Boyega — Small Axe
- Best actress in a series — musical or comedy: Catherine O’Hara — Schitt’s Creek
- Best animated film: Soul
- Best actor in a limited series, anthology series or TV film: Mark Ruffalo — I Know This Much is True
- Best screenplay: Aaron Sorkin — The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Carol Burnett Award: Norman Lear
- Best actress in a series — drama: Emma Corrin — The Crown
- Best song: „Io sì (Seen)” — The Life Ahead
- Best score: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste — Soul
- Best actor in a series — musical or comedy: Jason Sudeikis — Ted Lasso
- Best series: musical or comedy: Schitt’s Creek
- Best actress in a film — musical or comedy: Rosamund Pike — I Care A Lot
- Best actor in a series — drama: Josh O’Connor — The Crown
- Best foreign language film: Minari
- Best series — drama: The Crown
- Cecile B. DeMille Award: Jane Fonda
- Best actress in a supporting role in a film: Jodie Foster — The Mauritanian
- Best actress in a supporting role in television: Gillian Anderson — The Crown
- Best actress in a limited series, anthology series or TV film: Anya Taylor-Joy — The Queen’s Gambit
- Best limited series, anthology series or a TV film: The Queen’s Gambit
- Best actor in a film — drama: Chadwick Boseman — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Best directing: Chloe Zhao — Nomadland
- Best film — musical or comedy: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Best actor in a film — musical or comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Best actress in a film — drama: Andra Day — The United States vs. Billie Holiday
- Best film — drama: Nomadland
Although the hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are famous for their sharp tongues and the ability to add a lot of life to the otherwise boring gala, this time everything was a bit toned-down. Yes, they joked about many nominees and even the HFPA, but it was neither memorable nor particularly brilliant. That’s a big disappointment because the duo can definitely do better as they had proved it more than once before.
The comedic elements were generally a miss too. Most of the skits made the gala unnecessarily longer, not to mention that they were rather embarrassing. Despite Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph — whom I absolutely adore — taking part in some of them. I liked only two of these comedic performances: a series of actors’ conversations with different doctors and an adorable Q&A with kids, where they would say if they have ever heard of the nominees (all of them knew Chadwick Boseman!).
A handful of HFPA’s representatives stepped onto the scene for a moment to talk about the recently revealed scandals. But instead of specific plans, they only told the audience they will do better next time. This short statement was rather awkward and if that’s how HFPA understands apology, then they shouldn’t have bothered. A much more powerful speech than this hastily scrawled resolve to do better was the one Jane Fonda gave. When she received Cecile B. DeMille Award, she appealed to everyone to give a voice to those we have silenced.
Other creator’s speeches were — as it usually is with this kind of galas — either neverending series of thank-yous or inspired monologues with messages, which sometimes seemed inauthentic. I was especially put off by Mark Ruffalo, who was right to talk about our planet but didn’t sound very credible. There were, however, moments which were truly moving — like the one where Taylor Simone Ledward accepted the award for his late husband, Chadwick Boseman.
The whole pandemic background — stars connecting from their homes (some dressed formally to perhaps give the gala at least an appearance of solemnity, and some wearing T-shirts and hoodies), speeches given in the close presence of their relatives who could support them — gave the Globes quite an intimate atmosphere. This made the gala less pompous and fake. So, paradoxically, the format forced by the pandemic was good for the Globes.
But the awards themselves were at times terribly predictable and too safe. This includes giving too many Globes to The Crown, a typical award-bait, or awarding Soul as the best animated film (The Wolfwalkers deserved it much more, but it’s hard to break Disney hegemony).
I was very happy with the expected but well-deserved awards for Daniel Kaluuya, John Boyega and Nomadland. These were the sure bets of the awards season but they are worthy of all the prizes they have already got and will be getting.
And there were surprises. The biggest one was the acting award for Andra Day. Some online “smart guys” are already looking for a conspiracy of what they call “political correctness”. To those guys, I’d say: firstly, look up the definition of “political correctness” and, secondly, although the reviews of Lee Daniels’ latest film are mixed, the critics do agree that Andra Day’s role in it is exceptional. I was positively surprised by the award and although it does not necessarily mean even an Oscar nomination, I hope Day will continue to be recognised.
These were strange Globes and who knows how the future of these awards will look. But these few surprises were good enough to spend the time (whole night in my time zone) in front of the screen.