A Review of The 2021 Golden Globe Awards


Ty Nagvajara, Executive Editor

On Sunday, February 28, the 78th Golden Globe Awards were held, honoring achievements in both TV and film from the last year. It marked the first bi-coastal show in history, with comedian power-duo Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting from The Rainbow Room in New York City, NY and The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA, respectively.

The ceremony, which is often marked as the beginning of “awards season,” was forced to make major changes this year in order to ensure the safety of all involved. For one, the show had already occurred almost two months later than its usual early January date.

In addition, the show was missing its A-list audience members, opting for a socially-distanced crowd of masked first responders and healthcare workers. Instead, all of the nominees were stationed in distant locations and made virtual appearances on the broadcast.

Before the show had even begun, there had already been resounding criticism, specifically regarding the lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the voters of the awards.

Names like Ava DuVernay, Sterling K. Brown, and Shonda Rhimes slammed the HFPA for having no black voters within their 87 member committee. Early on in the show, members of HFPA aimed to address these shortcomings, stating that the lack of black members was “not really anything we focused on.”

These shortcomings on the part of the HFPA still could not overshadow some of the shocking and heartfelt moments of the show.  This included an emotional speech from Taylor Simone Ledward, the widow of Chadwick Boseman, who posthumously won the award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.

Fighting through tears, she powerfully said, “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.”

Another major moment occurred late in the show when Andra Day won the award of Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama for her portrayal of Billie Holliday in The United States vs. Billie Holliday. The award was especially surprising considering that it is her debut performance and she was not a frontrunner in the category.

Nonetheless, the win may be the momentum that Day needed to secure a nomination for the more prestigious Academy Awards.

Arguably the biggest winner of the night, though, was Chloé Zhao and her film Nomadland. Walking away with the Best Director and Best Motion Picture – Drama trophies, Zhao becomes only the second woman and first woman of color to win the award.

In her speech, she recognized the shoulders she stands on and said that she knew of “many others before [her] that deserve the same recognition.”

Along with these three, Sacha Baron Cohen went home big with two awards for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Daniel Kaluuya also won also big for his role as revolutionary activist Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. 

In the TV realm, The Crown reigned supreme. With four awards, including Best TV Series – Drama, the program was the most awarded project in either film or TV. Canadian comedy series Schitt’s Creek grabbed two awards for its final season and Netflix’s breakthrough miniseries The Queen’s Gambit won two Globes, including Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

Nonetheless, the glitziness of Hollywood clearly was not a priority for many Americans. This year, the Golden Globes only pulled 6.9 million viewers, a major drop compared to its 18.4 million viewers in 2020. Whether this major change is mostly due-in-part to the current climate, it does provide some insight into the minds of many Americans. Is now not the time for Hollywood’s escapism?