The 2021 Golden Globes: A Controversial Start to Award’s Season

Lily Bertles ‘22 and Mira Henry ‘24

This year’s delayed award season kicked off with the Golden Globes on February 28, 2021, which were surrounded by controversy. It’s no secret that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of 87 international journalists who vote on the awards, has come under scrutiny for its lack of diversity. Before this year’s Golden Globes, the Los Angeles Times revealed that the HFPA hadn’t included a single black member before 2002. This was reflected in the black performances, films, and shows that were overlooked and ignored. During the ceremony, three members of the HFPA addressed the controversy. They spoke briefly and said in short that they were committed to addressing the issues and diversifying the organization. 


On top of the controversy, the Golden Globes had a 64% plunge in ratings from last year. Significantly less than previous years, the awards show only garnered 6.9 million views. The lowest since 2008. This drop in viewership can be attributed to the controversy as well as the pandemic. This is keeping in trend with other recent award shows dropping by at least 30%. 


This year's Golden Globe recipients and nominees all logged on to Zoom to accept their awards. As most Zoom calls go, there were technical difficulties. For example, Daniel Kaluuya’s microphone was muted when he was giving his acceptance speech for best actor in a drama motion picture for “Judas the Black Messiah.” 


The Golden Globes also wasn’t the extravagant Hollywood event that it usually is. Some stars still dressed up, but there were others who donned pajamas and sweatpants. Some viewers called out a double standard between the numerous men who dressed down and the women who were still dressed in their best. Some people tweeted that if women had dressed the way many of the men did that they would’ve been torn apart


This year’s show was hosted bicoastal for the first time in the history of the globes, with Tina Fey in New York and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles. The live audience in the rooms consisted of socially distanced first responders and essential workers. 


While the rest of the show was more or less a disaster, Tina and Amy did as well as they could have with hosting this major event on two sides of the country. The two did speak their minds about HFPA and the lack of diversity, with Amy starting off by saying, “This is probably something we should've told you guys about earlier. Everybody is understandably upset at the HFPA and their choices. Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens, okay? That's like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Tina went on to add, "we all know award shows are stupid... The point is, even with stupid things, inclusivity is important and there are no Black members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. I realize, HFPA you may not have gotten the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonald's, but you have to change that.”



Lily: As a lover of film, television, music, and fashion, I always look forward to awards season. Despite the pandemic, 2020 produced a number of award-worthy films and TV shows. For the most part, the Golden Globes gave these works the recognition they deserved, though I do think some performances, shows, and films were snubbed. One of my favorite shows to come out of 2020 was Michaela Coel’s “I May Destroy You.” I was shocked when this British series wasn’t nominated for anything. This groundbreaking and well-written show tells the story of a woman dealing with the aftermath of being raped. It explores relevant subjects such as racism and consent in a way that is witty and unique. Every character is extremely complex, and they all have their fair share of setbacks throughout the show. Many critics were frustrated that “Emily in Paris” was nominated and “I May Destroy You” was not. They’re both dramedies that follow young women navigating new challenges but while “Emily in Paris” is shallow and over-done, “I May Destroy You” pushes the boundaries and is incredibly well-written. It’s also important to point out that “I May Destroy You” stars a mostly black cast while “Emily in Paris” is lacking in diversity and perspective. While the 2021 Golden Globes were far from perfect, it was still a great night for fashion. Less celebrities dressed up than in past years but those who did went all out. My favorite looks from the night were Elle Fanning in a gorgeous light-blue silk dress by Gucci, and Angela Bassett in a stunning deep-purple dress by Dolce and Gabbana. 

Mira: The awards season is something I look forward to every year. Not only is it a chance to give credit to some of the best in the industry, it also inspires many younger generations to reach their goals because it is never known where they will take you. And despite the numerous setbacks due to the pandemic, 2020 still produced countless breathtaking films. However some of the films and shows nominated this year truly should not have made the list, such as Music which was nominated for best musical/comedy. This film was accused by countless people as being ableist and just plain bad. It horribly portrayed a young girl (Maddie Ziegler) with autism and included scenes with deadly restraints which have led to many child deaths. Ziegler herself was concerned about this, but at the age of 14 she was silenced by Sia. This film should never have been considered for nomination. HFPA also failed to give credit to countless black ensemble films such as Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Judas and the Black Messiah, One Night in Miami and Da 5 Bloods. These films were highly praised and loved by the media and should have been what got the attention. Not films like Music. Overall, I feel like the nominations this year were not what they should have been and many films did not get the attention and praise they deserve.