The most pressing talking points from the Golden Globes 2021: diversity, pets and Chadwick Boseman

Awards season got off to a start with a virtual Globes ceremony

Nearly two months later than usual, the Golden Globes 2021 took place tonight (February 28), bringing together the good and great of Hollywood on one giant Zoom call. As with every year, there were winners and losers, snubs and surprises, as well as a glimpse at what the rest of awards season might look like. Here are the biggest talking points from tonight’s ceremony, from the HFPA’s diversity scandal to the most moving speech of the night.

The HFPA promised to address representation and they did, briefly

Ahead of this year’s Golden Globes, an LA Times exposé revealed that, of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 87 members, none of them were Black. The committee responded by promising to address the issue during the ceremony, which they did. Three HFPA members took to the stage to deliver a statement that acknowledged they had work to do and featured soundbite-worthy sentiments like: “We must ensure everyone gets a seat at our table.”

Unfortunately, the HFPA didn’t expand much further than that – there were no details of when or how they would make inclusion and diversity a reality within their ranks. If their aims aren’t clear and specific, though, how are they supposed to be held closely accountable?

Jane Fonda used her speech far more effectively

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Fortunately for everyone watching, there were some people involved with this year’s Golden Globes who were willing to speak more passionately and fully about the issue. Hollywood icon Jane Fonda was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille award and she used her speech to share her thoughts powerfully on the need to broaden who gets to be heard in the industry.

“But there’s a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry,” she said. “The story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out. It’s about who’s offered a seat at the table and who was kept out of the rooms where decisions are made. So that’s all of us, including all the groups who decide who gets hired and what gets made and who wins awards.”

As she continued, Fonda noted that doing so wasn’t fabricating what the world looks like, but reflecting it. “Doing this simply means acknowledging what’s true, being in step with the emerging diversity that’s happening because of all those who marched and fought in the past and those who picked up the baton today,” she explained. “After all, art has always been not just in step with history but has led the way. So let’s be leaders.”

The whole ceremony was a reminder we’ve yet another week of glitchy Zoom calls ahead of us

The Globes might have lightly wowed us at the very beginning by having Amy Poehler and Tina Fey present from opposite sides of America without an awkward delay, but things soon went downhill fast. The first winner of the night, Daniel Kaluuya, started his acceptance speech only for his mic to be on mute. There were more glitchy connections and, in the series of looks on display, a representation of the trajectory of everyone’s pandemic efforts – still making yourself look presentable in the early weeks to shoving on whatever hoodie is nearest à la Jason Sudeikis and Joaquin Phoenix a few months in. If we must sit through awards shows, at least let them remain fantastical and glamorous and escapist, and not a doom-filled reminder of what tedium lies ahead tomorrow morning.

The most emotional moment of the night came with Chadwick Boseman’s posthumous win

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In one of the least surprising and most deserving wins of the night, Chadwick Boseman was honoured with the Best Actor award for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Before his death in 2020, such a victory would have been marked by a typically thoughtful and moving speech from the star. Accepting the award in his memory, his widow Taylor Simone Ledward-Boseman did that job for him, channelling his poignant spirit in an emotional speech.

“He would thank God,” she began. “He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices. He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells us 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.

“I don’t have his words but we have to take all the moment to celebrate all we love, so thank you, HFPA, for this opportunity to do exactly that.” She might not have his words exactly, but she did the late, great Boseman justice.

Chloé Zhao made history with Nomadland

The Golden Globes have famously had an issue with the Best Director category and letting any women get nominated, let alone win, for a long time. So it was a happily shocking moment when, during the nominations reveal earlier this month, three women were given the nod for the award.

Even better, one of those three ended up walking away with the prize. Chloé Zhao was crowned victor for her film Nomadland, making her the second woman ever to be named Best Director, the first Asian woman to be given the title and the second Asian person in the Globes history. Add her award for Best Screenplay and Nomadland winning Best Picture into the mix and you’ve got a great, history-making night.

One advantage of virtual ceremonies: famous people’s pets

Whatever you think of awards ceremonies in “normal” times, you can’t deny that they are sorely lacking in furry friends. Unfortunately, dogs, cats and others aren’t included in the +1s for glitzy, backslapping summits, but every single award show would be improved if they were.

Case in point: tonight’s mostly quite boring affair! Just when you thought you might drift off thanks to how dull everything was, in came a famous person’s pet to pique your interest again. Not only did we get Jodie Foster’s dog chilling as their owner picked up Best Supporting Actress for The Mauritanian, we also got Sarah Paulson’s pup and The Crown star Emma Corrin’s cat at the same time. What a time to be alive!

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