Top moments from the 78th Golden Globe Awards

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HFPA Photographer

Sean Penn presents at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in California on Sunday, February 28, 2021.

The 78th Golden Globe Awards was the first major award show during the delayed 2021 season and despite social distance guidelines and hosts located on both coasts on Feb. 28, it was a smooth show all in all. The mostly virtual show didn’t stop celebrities from showcasing their style from Zoom and enjoying the virtual red carpet. 

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were also back at it again this year as hosts, and they didn’t hold back anything. They joked about Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential loss to Joe Biden, mentioned the COVID-19 vaccination and even roasted the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for their lack of diversity. This year’s Golden Globes were so much fun, despite some minor technical difficulties. From the first woman directors to the underdog story, here are some of top moments from this year’s awards.

Streaming is here to stay

From Netflix’s “The Crown” and “The Queen’s Gambit,” to Amazon’s “Borat” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” these shows and films showed that streaming services didn’t just come to play around, they came to slay the competition. Gillian Anderson’s fantastic performance as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in “The Crown” earned her the award for best supporting actress in TV, and Sacha Baron Cohen’s hilarious performance in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won him best actor in a musical or comedy.

It was a tough year for Hollywood, with the nation in lockdown over the virus, but if there was one thing to take from this it’s that streaming services are not going anywhere. So for those who think that streaming services don’t make good movies or don’t give viewers the same movie viewing experience, you’ll be disappointed to see more people watching films from the comfort of their own home even after the pandemic is over.

Time will tell if the upcoming Oscars will give proper recognition to the films made by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming services. Or, is that award show still going to be stuck in the same old “Hollywood movies in theater” idea?

Anya Taylor–Joy is one to watch

Argentine and British actress Anya Taylor-Joy cemented herself as a rising star when she took home one of the top prizes. She won best actress in a limited series for her riveting performance as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in “The Queen’s Gambit.” Later in the night, the record-breaking Netflix show won best limited series. She was also nominated for best actress in a musical or comedy for “Emma,” but lost the award to Rosamund Pike’s “I Care a Lot.”

Joy wore a stunning emerald green Dior dress to the virtual event, which gave her major old Hollywood vibes. The actress truly is a joy to watch on screen and it’s exciting to watch her just on the cusp of her career. 

Healthcare workers received star treatment

Hospitals and healthcare workers took a hard hit due to the pandemic, so to have doctors and nurses getting the VIP treatment as a way of saying “thank you” was moving and touching. To tell them that they are the biggest heroes during these very dark times was something that will be remembered.

From Jane Fonda’s message of solidarity and telling people to get the vaccine shot, to people dedicating their awards to them, it goes to show that there are real heroes that make the world a better place.

Black stories are being recognized

From “Judas and the Black Messiah” to “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” and Disney’s “Soul,” stories about people of color got the proper recognition from the HFPA. Even “Small Axe” star John Boyega won best supporting actor in a TV series. Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor in a movie for his performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah” and the late Chadwick Boseman won a posthumous award for his stellar performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The speech that was given by Chadwick’s widow was also moving, true and honest. This list also follows with a win for Andra Day’s brilliant performance as troubled singer Billie Holiday in “The United States vs Billie Holiday.”

All in all, you have to say that at least something was being told from real stories of real people in history. This might be a start for other stories of real people that will be addressed for future directors in the Black community. 

Ladies first

It was a night of history-making and groundbreaking moments with Chloe Zhao’s intimate and mesmerizing “Nomadland” winning best motion picture drama. She also won best director, making her the second woman to win in the category throughout the show’s 78 year-history. She also became the first Asian American director to win that award.  Not only did she have to beat out some heavy hitters in this category, but for a female director to do it was amazing.  

If this is any indication that women directors are just as good as the men in the group, maybe it might be time to pay attention and learn. Her acceptance speech was riveting and honest. Her speech about her country, China, did ruffle some feathers, but that didn’t damper anything that was amazing with that win. 

Zhao is someone to watch out for in the award season this year. She has nailed every raw aspect that the characters in her work portrayed, and this was one amazing night for such a humble director.

You got to have Soul

Disney hit a home run when they made this film about a musician who is suddenly turned into a soul and has to find his place in the world. It sounds like a typical Disney film, but it stepped outside of the typical box and used some spark, R&B and jazz to tell a riveting story.

This cool movie was something that was very much needed, especially with people feeling defeated and saddened with the current climate we are in, so to have this film telling us that you have a purpose in life really mattered.

Directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, who also directed “One Night in Miami” and was the first African American to direct a Disney film, these two made magic. When Powers and Docter won for best animated motion picture, it came to no surprise, yet caused some extreme excitement. It also won best original score.

The film was something that was new and fresh for both the younger and older generations. There would be no surprises if this film sweeps up awards at the Oscars.  The movie was in a tough competition with the likes of “Onward,” another Disney film that was favored to win, but it marched to the beat of its own sax and deserved the win. 

How Borat beat Hamilton and was celebrated

Hamilton sung “My Shot” to hit home that he wasn’t throwing away his shot, but that didn’t save him from the likes of Borat. “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” beat “Hamilton”’ in the most epic troll move. Baron Cohen, who plays famous Kazakhstan Reporter Borat Sagdiyev, waltzed right out of the Golden Globes for best actor and best motion picture comedy or musical. Hamilton went in as the favorite to win that award, but then Borat returned with a sequel to the first, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”  

It was obvious that Borat was going to win something. But yes, Pike won best actress in a film comedy or musical for her cold performance in “I Care a Lot” instead of “Borat” actress Maria Bakalova.  And if you’ve read The Suffolk Journal’s previous review of “I Care a Lot,” it sums up our personal feelings about that film. 

But that didn’t stop Baron Cohen from taking shots at the all white members of the HFPA and Trump’s loss. Then he gave the biggest troll move by saying he wanted to thank the best actor in the movie, Rudy Giuliani. The level of pettiness was through the roof in his acceptance speech.  

It’ll be interesting to see how a pandemic-era award season continues with the upcoming Oscars, postponed to April 25 and the Emmy awards in the fall.