On February 28, the Golden Globes kicked off this year’s awards season. The Globes are kind of the ugly duckling of awards season, except there’s no moral about not judging a book by its cover: the Globes and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) are just as ugly on the inside as they are on the outside. Despite their relative unimportance and laughability in comparison to other awards, pop culture junkies and celebrity culture fanatics alike continue to tune in each year to watch what many consider the messiest — and funniest — show of the season. Many writers much smarter and more capable than I have written recaps of the whole night, so I present to you: three highs and three lows from the strangest awards show I’ve ever watched.
High: Chloe Zhao became the first Asian woman (and the second woman ever) to win best director
For the first time in six years, the HFPA nominated at least one woman for Best Director. This year, three of the five nominees were women: Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, Regina King for One Night in Miami, and Chloe Zhao for Nomadland. Nomadland has been the projected frontrunner for numerous awards since its premiere at Sundance in 2020, so it was no surprise when it won Best Drama Film as well as Best Director. Still, it was refreshing to see Zhao be recognized for her exceptional talent, and her win was certainly a high point of the night.
Low: Acknowledgement with no action from the HFPA
Long before this year’s Globes, many have criticized the HFPA for its lack of diversity: the organization currently has no Black members. In an attempt to save face, three members of the HFPA — President Ali Sar, Vice President Helen Hoehne, and former President Meher Tatna — addressed the organization’s lack of diversity and vowed to do better going forward. But… that’s about it. Viewers were disappointed, but not surprised, at the lack of actionable steps presented by the organization. Perhaps this will be the final nail in the coffin for the HFPA, and they’ll finally fade into the obscurity from whence they came.
High: Jason Sudeikis showed up in a tie-dye hoodie, looked extremely sleep deprived, and referenced Tolstoy in his acceptance speech
After critical darling Schitt’s Creek swept at the Emmy Awards last September, it was almost a surprise when it didn’t do the same at the Globes. While the show won two of the five awards it was nominated for, many were taken aback (in a good way!) when Jason Sudeikis won the award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series for his performance in Ted Lasso. I could wax poetic about the warm hug of a television show that is Ted Lasso, but instead I’ll talk about Sudeikis’s bizarre but ultimately endearing acceptance speech. First: Sudeikis was not all dressed up like many of his fellow nominees. Instead, he wore a cozy-looking tie-dye sweatshirt which Twitter sleuths found out is merchandise for his sister’s dance studio. How sweet! Second: he looked very, very sleepy. This made sense, considering that Sudeikis is currently in the United Kingdom filming season two of Ted Lasso, so it was likely around 3 a.m. when he accepted the award. Regardless, it was shocking to see the usually peppy Sudeikis almost falling asleep as he made his speech. Third: his acceptance speech was kind of weird (but ultimately really sweet). He seemed caught off guard by his win, which led to him rambling a little bit as well as offhandedly referencing a Leo Tolstoy book he read to his son. The ambling speech led to fellow nominee Don Cheadle (humorously) giving Sudeikis a “wrap it up” signal. Everyone on Twitter went wild for the whole thing — in a good way. It’s safe to say that Sudeikis was a bright spot in an exceedingly dull Globes ceremony.
Low: Uncanny Zoom Breakout Room Valley
The weirdest part of the Globes this year was its hybrid structure: unlike The Emmys, which were fully online except for the host and presenters, The Globes had a small in-person audience of frontline and essential workers in addition to its hosts and presenters, with nominees attending the ceremony via Zoom. In a baffling choice, the HFPA crammed the nominees for each award in a breakout room with each other before and during the presentation of each award. Sometimes, this system resulted in friendly, if stilted, interactions, such as the nominees for Best Actress in a Drama Series showing off their pets during a commercial break (Emma Corrin of the The Crown has an incredibly cute cat); mostly, though, it led to the audience having to witness their favorite celebrities try not to feel incredibly awkward about being stuck in a breakout room for an extended amount of time while waiting to hear whether they won the award or not. The funniest of the latter happened when Bob Odenkirk, nominated for his performance in Better Call Saul, tried to make conversation with his fellow nominees only to be met with dead silence. We feel your pain, Bob. It always sucks to be the only one talking in a breakout room, whether you’re at a nationally televised award show or in a college class.
High: David Fincher doing shots during acceptance speeches like the king he is
Oh, David Fincher. Numerous critics were surprised when Mank — a film I admittedly have not seen despite being a Fincher stan — didn’t win a single award it was nominated for. But don’t fret, there is a silver lining to his total loss: every time he was on screen during an acceptance speech, the audience could very clearly see him doing a shot. Since he didn’t win any awards, there’s no knowing whether he was only planning on drinking when he lost, but it was nice to see that even A-list directors are getting blasted while staying home. Now all we can do is hope that Mank’s flop at the awards encourages Fincher to finally make season 3 of Mindhunter!
Low: I’m still mad that Michaela Coel was snubbed, so I’m going to talk about it here
Listen. I know the HFPA is deeply fake and easily bribed. However, I’m still mad that they snubbed Michaela Coel and her new show I May Destroy You. The actor-writer-director’s follow-up to her highly acclaimed series Chewing Gum takes inspiration from her own sexual assault and explores the nuances of trauma in the social media age. It’s one of the best shows of 2020. I May Destroy You has been nominated for awards that actually matter — including the Independent Spirit Awards’ brand new television categories — but it still sucks to see such a groundbreaking series be snubbed, even if it’s by a shitty organization.