Golden Globes: The Rundown
Olivia Garrett gives us a rundown of this year’s Golden Globe Awards.
When it comes to this year’s Golden Globes all I can really say is… it could have been worse. From its troublesome build-up of insulting snubs and frankly horrifying nominations, to the idea of a separated and audience-less Poehler and Fey, this award show promised disaster. So, when Sunday the 28th loomed, dark and ominous, all waited for the inevitable COVID or perhaps even Corden controversy. Thankfully though, none came. Yes, it had the lowest viewing ratings in history (a mere 6.9 million), and yes, the tepid silences on the Z word none of us can bear to name were awful, but to give credit where it’s due, the results were not too terrible.
Starting with the films and the pleasing success of Chloe Zhao’s soft but boundless Nomadland. This unconventional story, which treats the audience to an intimate connection with the mindset of a roaming Frances McDormand, was a surprising but deserving receiver of Best Motion Picture in the Drama category. With the overplayed themes of The Trial of Chicago 7 and the Hollywood narcissism of Mank, Nomadland was far down in my list of expectations. However, what was to be expected, to my chagrin, was the avoidance of what would have been the most dangerous and audacious choice: Promising Young Woman. This deliciously wicked drama is far too risky for the likes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hence its snubbing in other subsequent categories like Best Actress and Best Director. Yet it would be wrong to not commend the choice of Andra Day for the former, as her heroic carrying of The United States vs Billie Holiday is what rightfully earned her that award. And Chloe Zhao’s win of Best Director is nothing short of phenomenal as she becomes the first Asian woman to win said title and will surely go on to rule the rest of the season.
It was the Comedy and Musical category that truly created the most foreboding in the lead up to the Globes. Who didn’t scoff at the choice of James Corden for Best Actor or raise an eyebrow at Sia’s insulting display of ableism and nepotism in Music? Ultimately, Borat was the only real choice for Best Picture, as cringey as I may find it. Sacha Baron Cohen’s victory was enjoyable to see (as was his speech), but I can’t help grieving for Dev Patel, whose performance of David Copperfield actually managed to reach the cinema last year. Hamilton’s place on the shortlist as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s nomination was pleasant but dubious at best. The big prize was never going to go to a play, which is perhaps the reason why Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom also missed out. Despite ground-breaking performances and the beautiful win of the late Chadwick Boseman, as an adaptation, the film lacks originality and fails to move away creatively from the source material.
Rosamund Pike and Daniel Kaluuya’s wins, for Best Actress in a Comedy and Best Supporting Actor in any film, were also notable and exciting as they both gave daring and unforgettable performances in their respective flicks. Minari’s success in Best Foreign Film, although mis-categorised, was suitable and bodes well for the Oscars.
For TV, Schitt’s Creek and The Crown predictably reigned. Catherine O’Hara’s performance of Moira Rose is always exactly the thing we need, but I am glad that Schitt’s Creek did not totally sweep up as they did at the Emmy’s as therein lies the dangers of over-saturation. Jason Sudeikis and John Boyega’s roles were more than enough to deserve the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards, and to fill the Dan and Eugene Levy shaped holes. The Crown’s wins dethroned the queen herself and went to the younger generation, a result more than fair enough as Olivia Coleman’s part in the hit series has never quite lived up to that of Claire Foy, and the Diana lookalike of season four is what has generated so much retrospective obsession. The same cannot be said of Margaret Thatcher and Gillian Anderson’s bizarre win for Best Supporting Actress. Although balanced and complex, her Thatcher impression felt more like a caricature and did not match up to some of the other nominees. It was also a good day for royal dramas as the Queen’s Gambit won for Best Limited Series, a fact brought on by Anya Taylor-Joy’s skillful performance and leading lady gravitas.
So, despite the poor lead-up and the inevitable COVID awkwardness, this year’s Golden Globes did well to meet the expectations of award-show viewers (not that there are many of them left). With the Oscar nominations coming soon we can surely expect more positive surprises on the way.