By Elle Baker
March 16, 2021
The closures of movie theaters over the past year from the seemingly never ending COVID-19 pandemic has led to the creation of ‘home theaters’ – more or less our bedrooms – causing the difference between watching a movie or a tv show to become nonexistent. This was hilariously noted by bi-costal Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey in New York City and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, where jokes were attempted to make up for the lack of the usual glam and vibrancy the infamous award show brings.
Because it was forced to be held virtually, there were bound to be glitches and awkward moments throughout the award show. Fortunately, being the comedians that they are , Tina and Amy kept the ‘show’ moving as well as they were able. The Golden Globes are normally associated with stunning red carpet attire, all of Hollywood’s most famous actors and actresses in attendance, and a phenomenal display of the year’s cinematic performances, it was nothing short of disappointment when watching this year’s attempt at the coveted award show.
Since many Americans treat the Golden Globes as a celebratory day, viewings are often through the roof. It is a stark contrast to the ratings of years past, as results came in at a whopping 6.9 million viewers in comparison to the 18.3 million views of last year’s ceremony. Even though most viewers were home anyway, they decided not to watch the 2021 show. This year, there seemed to be a lack of advertisement for the award show, which may have contributed to the drastic dip in viewers. As many people have gravitated towards streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu instead of cable TV, which generally lack the regular ads and commercials that give reminders of events such as the Golden Globes, it may be reason to believe that these events need to find a way to reach those without cable commercials. Another reason for the lack of viewership may be that there was not enough excitement from 2020’s cinematic releases to convince viewers to sit through the virtual version of the Golden Globes. This was a version so subpar to what is expected and, frankly, demanded of the ceremony to give in commemoration of the actors and actresses receiving a Golden Globe and the people who watched the movies and tv shows that essentially gave them those awards.
In retrospect, the winners of the coveted award were well deserving. “Nomadland” won the award for best drama film and “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won best comedy film, both of which were not entirely well-known prior to the ceremony, given movie theaters were unable to advertise and show them. Andra Day won best actress in a drama for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday” and Chadwick Boseman posthumously received the award for best actor in a drama for what became his final movie role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Chloé Zhao, who directed “Nomadland,” became the second woman ever to win best director. Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award and Norman Lear became the third ever recipient of the Carol Burnett Award.
Netflix led with a whopping 42 nominations. “Mank,” the streaming service’s movie about “Citizen Kane” screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, received the most nominations of any film this year. Even with six nominations, it failed to win any awards. “The Crown” also received six nominations, the most for any television series this year. The historical drama took home awards for best drama, best actress, best actor and best supporting actress.
In regards to the racial diversity of awards given, out of the 25 possible awards, only five winners were African American and two were of Asian descent. The diversity in the election panel was even less apparent with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association having no African American members. This issue was brought up, in a cynical manner, by the bicoastal hostesses, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The two wove in a variety of jokes and poked fun at everything from indoor dining to the Netflix show “Emily in Paris” to whether this all could have been an email. The most notable was during their opening monologue when they said, “The HFPA is made up of around 90 international (no Black) journalists, who travel to movie junkets each year in search of a better life. We say around 90, because a couple of them might be ghosts.” They go on to joke about the award winning animated film “Soul” that it is, “ a beautiful Pixar animated movie where a middle-aged Black man’s soul accidentally gets knocked out of his body and into a cat,” says Fey. “The HFPA really responded to this movie, because they do have five cast members.” The two concluded their opening speech with a plea to the Hollywood Foreign Press to address their lack of diversity. “This is probably something we should have told you guys earlier; everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices,” Poehler says. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated, but that happens. That’s, like, their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-lead projects were overlooked.”
The one positive note in regards to racial inclusion was that instead of having the nominated celebrities with their cast and crew fill the round tables of the Beverly Hilton, mainly African American first responders were asked to attend in their place. Numerous news outlets and websites reported on the HFPA’s failure to meet the pressing need for racial inclusion that was thrown into the spotlight last summer and was carried throughout the award show by the co-hosts and production team via this once in a lifetime audience.
In the end of it all, the Oscars and Emmys have a huge expectation to meet in the wake of this disappointment of a Golden Globe award show. With the time left until their respective ceremony dates, the nation has our fingers crossed that there will be an improvement from Sunday’s display.