The Golden Globes-during-a-pandemic experiment is history and boy howdy was it a weird watch.
I’ve read that production crews were sent to assist all the nominees with their technical setups, but as someone who works full-time in film and video production, I can’t allow myself to believe it. From what I saw and heard, it seemed as if most nominees were simply sent Zoom invites and had to fend for themselves. The show looked and sounded awful and had massive technical issues peppered throughout.
As for the show itself, the hosting team of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler was, I thought, excellent. I’m a huge Amy Poehler fan, and yet she still manages to surprise me with how amazing she can be.
And yeah, sure, Fey was OK, too.
Fey and Poehler tackled the much-discussed Globes hit piece that came out the Sunday before the show, and it seemed as if the show had been re-engineered a bit in response to said piece.
Onto the awards themselves. Chloe Zhao’s excellent Nomadland won the big award of the night, Best Picture (Drama), as was expected. At this point it’s pretty much a lock to win the Best Picture Oscar as well. This is a good thing, as Zhao is an incredible filmmaker who needed this little push into the mainstream. Don’t be surprised if she’s a storyteller who is in our lives for a very long time. If you’ve not yet seen Nomadland, I highly recommend doing so before the Oscars. It’s philosophical, calm, observational, and beautiful.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won the night’s second biggest price, Best Picture (Comedy), which delighted me. What Sacha Baron Cohen accomplished in 2020, especially with this film, is pretty legendary. No one seemed to believe that a second Borat film could be good but, in my opinion, Cohen managed to top himself by making a film that was much smarter than the first film, which was basically a series of pranks.
Audra Day won Best Actress (Drama), which surprised essentially everyone watching, since few have seen The United States vs. Billie Holiday yet, and Nomadland star Frances McDormand seemed like a lock to take home the statue after winning just about every other award possible for her performance.
Did Day, who is a virtual no-name compared to her competition, win because the Globes reworked their show after being called out on their lack of diversity? It seems possible, mostly because the Globes are obsessed with celebrity above all else and giving a major award to a virtual unknown is not something they’re known to do.
The late Chadwick Boseman won Best Actor (Drama) for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, beating out frontrunners Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Gary Oldman (Mank). I think in a normal year Oldman would hands down win for his performance. But Boseman passed away in 2020 and that might have also been a factor in his win. That being said, Boseman was an incredible actor and gave a very strong performance in this movie that, again, almost no one watched.
Rosamund Pike won the Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) statue for her performance in the just released I Care a Lot, beating out front-runner Maria Bakalova, whose performance in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm will quite possibly go down as legendary (if mostly for the scene with a certain ex-mayor).
Sacha Baron Cohen took home the Best Actor (Comedy or Musical) for his return to the Borat character, beating out was, in my opinion, a batch of fellow nominees who come nowhere close to Cohen’s brilliance. For example, James Corden was nominated.
Everyone thought the Best Supporting Actress award was a lock for Amanda Seyfried, who finally lived up to her potential in David Fincher’s excellent Mank. But nope, the legendary Jodie Foster won for her performance in The Mauritanian. Didn’t Foster say that she was retiring from acting a few years ago? Anyhow, she’s brilliant and I can’t argue with her winning awards.
My favorite win of the night went to Daniel Kaluuya, who won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in my favorite film of the year, Judas and the Black Messiah. Joaquin Phoenix aside, I think Kaluuya might be the best working screen actor in the world right now, so seeing him get a little recognition felt great. Pundits were predicting that Jared Leto would win for his performance in The Little Things, and whoa could we ever see the bitterness on his face when Kaluuya’s name was announced. But here’s the thing about this award: Kaluuya was, in my opinion, the lead of Judas, and should have won Best Actor. Maybe the Oscars will correct this wrong? Either way, if Kaluuya doesn’t win an Oscar for his performance in this film, be it Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor, I’ll be extremely disappointed.
Chloe Zhao won the Best Director trophy over Aaron Sorkin, Regina King, David Fincher, and Emerald Fennell. Fincher will have to someday start winning the major Best Director awards. For now, I think Zhao was the right pick. She’s brilliant.
The excellent Minari won Best Foreign Language Picture and had the best acceptance speech of the night. Soul won Best Animated Film, which makes sense, as it’s one of the best animated films I’ve ever seen. Aaron Sorkin won Best Screenplay for The Trial of the Chicago 7, which bothers me a little. Of course it’s a well written script with incredible dialogue, but it’s not even close to Sorkin’s best work, and certainly not better than the Mank script, which was written by David Fincher’s dad, Jack Fincher.
All in all, it was a pretty decent night of television for what it was. Mostly, I hope this jumpstarts the Oscar conversation and gets people talking about (and watching) movies again. In a year in which it felt as if television shows truly took over, the film industry needs some love. Here’s hoping the Golden Globe buzz helps.