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Golden Globes: Black Lives Matter!

March 01, 2021 14:32 IST
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'Stories can change people.'
'But there's a story we have been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry.'
'A story about which voices we respect and elevate, and which we tune out.
'Story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where the decisions are made.'

Photograph: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

All award shows have controversies surrounding them.

But even then, the 78th Golden Globes had an extra dose of controversy.

In 2015, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was hit with the hashtag #OscarSoWhite, which led to the rehauling of the organisation's rules and an extra effort was placed in expanding its global member base.

This year, the Golden Globes was hit by its own version of #OscarSoWhite when the Los Angeles Times revealed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- the elite 87-person group that runs the award event, did not have a single black member.

In fact, the organisation -- made up of foreign journalists who live in the Los Angeles area -- has not had a black member since 1987.

The advocacy group Time's Up came up with the hashtag #TIMESUPGlobes, adding that this reflected in a noticeable absence of black-led projects in the Best Picture (Drama) category: Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Judas and the Black Messiah and One Night In Miami....

The snub led The New York Times's Kyle Buchanan to tweet that the HFPA is 'never the most racially attuned bunch.'

Lee's film was shut out from all the nominations, although his kids Satchel and Jackson Lee were this year's Globe ambassadors.

Jackson is the first male African American to be made a Golden Globe ambassador.

IMAGE: Satchel and Jackson Lee. Photograph: Kind courtesy Golden Globe Awards/Twitter

Addressing the issue at the ceremony, HFPA Vice President Helen Hoehne said, 'We recognise we have our own work to do. Just like in film and television black representation is vital. We must have black journalists in our organisation.'

And her colleague and former HFPA president Meher Tatna -- a journalist from India, and wearing a silk sari -- added, 'We must also ensure everyone from all underrepresented communities gets a seat at our table and we are going to make that happen.'


IMAGE: Tina Fey. Photograph: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Hollywood Foreign Press Association

The first major award ceremony during the pandemic was the strangest one we have seen in the recent years, where Tina Fey was live on NBC television from the Rainbow Room in New York City, while her co-host Amy Poehler was inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles and none of the nominees were present in the venues.

The few members in the audience were invited guests -- first responders during the current pandemic.

The event started off by two awards to black actors, both British.

The first winner of the show was Daniel Kaluuya, Best Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah.

This was followed by an award for John Boyega, who played a cop in Red, White and Blue, one of the five stories in Steve McQueen's exceptional Amazon Prime series, Small Axe. And there were enough African American actors presenting other awards.

Boyega and Kaluuya deserved the awards, but announcing their wins right at the beginning of the show seemed like a desperate last-minute attempt by the HFPA to cover up for what is obviously a major shortcoming.


IMAGE: Jane Fonda. Photograph: Kind courtesy Jane Fonda/ Instagram

Eighty three years old, Jane Fonda received the Cecil B DeMille award.

After the montage of clips from her films and her days of activism, the star came on stage in Los Angeles.

As expected, she too addressed the controversy of the day.

Referring to the leading films of the year, Fonda said each of them showed her the differences in our society.

'Nomadland helped me feel love for the wanderers among us. Minari opened my eyes to the experiences of the immigrants dealing with the realities of life in a new land. And Judas and the Black Messiah, Small Axe. US Vs Billie Holiday, Ma Rainey, One Night in Miami... have deepened my empathy for what being black has meant. Ramy helped me feel what it means to be a Muslim American. I May Destroy You (another show ignored by the HFPA) has taught me to consider sexual violence in a whole new way.

'Stories can change people. But there's a story we have been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry. A story about which voices we respect and elevate, and which we tune out. Story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the rooms where the decisions are made.

'Let's all of us make the effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone's story has a chance to be seen and hear...

<p<> 'After all, art has not just been in step with history but has led the way. So let's be leaders.'

History was made with Chloe Zhao, the first Asian American film-maker and the second woman to win the best director Globe for her remarkable film Nomadland.

Zhao was one of the three women directors and who were nominated for this year's Golden Globes, which in itself was historic.

The other two were Regina King for One Night in Miami and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman

Zhao described the Nomadland as a 'pilgrimage through grief and healing'.

The film also won the top award for best film in the drama category.

There were some surprises, especially in the two female acting categories. Andra Day won the Best Actress (Drama) for her performance in United States vs Billie Holiday. She beat three of the front runners, Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) and Frances McDormand (Nomadland).

The biggest surprise was Jodie Foster winning the best supporting actress award for The Mauritanian.

Foster's competition included veteran actress Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy).

'I love my wife Alex,' Foster said in her acceptance speech, and kissed her spouse Alexandra Hedison on her lips.

The awards ceremony seemed timid, but there were joyful moments seeing so many winners surrounded by their kids at home.

Director Lee Isaac Chung's young daughter gave him a tight hug when Minari was awarded the best foreign language film award.

Mark Ruffalos two teenage sons proudly stood behind him, patting his shoulders when he won the award for Best Performance by an actor in the limited series I Know This Much Is True.

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