This years’ Golden Globe awards were done virtually for the first time due to the ongoing pandemic and threw up some interesting scenarios. Nominees and winners were seen accepting their awards via live video and of course experienced many classic zoom-fails: John Boyega, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Small Axe, confessed he was wearing joggers underneath his tux and Daniel Kaluuya, who won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Judas and the Black Messiah managed to mute himself. Not to mention Jason Sudeikis’ tie-dye hoodie that looked like it would be far better suited to the street-style of Durham than a star-studded event. Yet the most entertaining part of the evening wasn’t really finding out how many awards The Crown received, it was six by the way, but it was seeing the nominees sitting in their homes glammed up, or not, in an attempt to bring the glamour of the event into their homes: the show must go on.
However, despite the funny nature of the Zoom shenanigans and fashion faux pas there seemed to be something missing from the Globes this year, and I do not mean an actual non-socially distanced ceremony. It was Michaela Coel. Eyebrows were raised when Netflix’s Emily in Paris received nominations for Best Television Show, Best Performance in a Musical or Comedy Series (Lily Collins) and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Ashley Park). In fact, they were raised so much so that in the last week there have been rumours circulating in the press that they bought their way in: claims the show creators and cast vehemently disagree with. Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You received no such nomination.
It is inconceivable that her work of genius about the struggle of a young writer after she has been raped was not eligible for nomination: it was bold, creative, strong, boundary-pushing and unlike anything seen on television before. But perhaps this was exactly why it was nominated: some of the wider issues it touched on were too hard for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to swallow. Coel brought forward issues of race, sexual assault and feminism in her work – all issues that are rife in Hollywood: #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo to name a few. The fact that she was snubbed initially surprised me by but now having looked back at the systemic issues and corruption at the top end of the film and television world I am no longer surprised.
My cynicism is ultimately still playing by the rules though. By debating and discussing who got nominated, who didn’t and who won still gives such awards and nominations value. If the Golden Globes were unimportant we simply wouldn’t be discussing them. Equally many winners in previous years have not become classics and have faded away as trends change while other films that receive no such recognition go on to become well-loved cult classics. But 2021 has proved that unless things change the Golden Globes will soon be left behind. As the years go on the Globes, or any similar award ceremony for that matter, seem to become less and less relevant. It has become clearer that decisions on nominations and awards seem to be less of a marker of high quality artistry and more of a narrow decision made by a few individuals: the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Although there were several silver linings this year: a record-breaking number of female directors were nominated this year, many wonderful performances were recognised such as John Boyega for Small Axe and newcomer Emma Corrin for The Crown and of course we had wonderful commentary from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Perhaps a forgiving thought is that the nature of the Golden Globes this year reflects the strange times we are living in but what is for certain is that attitudes are changing fast for the better and that the Golden Globes need to keep up.