Golden Globes 2021: “Nomadland”, “The Crown”, and “Borat 2” Among the Winners

Nicolas Valayannopoulos-Akrivou, Arts & Entertainment Editor

The 78th edition of the Golden Globes, which took place on Sunday, February 28th, reserved its fair share of surprises—acclaiming Borat 2 and Nomadland, while recognizing the domination of the series The Crown. Deprived by pandemic restrictions of the typical champagne and red carpet, the ceremony was held virtually for the first time, away from the traditional Beverly Hilton Hotel. The Master of Ceremonies was none other than Amy Poehler, and joined by her co-host Tina Fey. 

A heavy favorite following her nomination, Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao leaves with two prestigious awards: the Golden Globe for Best Director—becoming the first Asian woman to win this award—and the Golden Globe for Best Film, awarded to her film Nomadland. She tells the story of modern nomads, Americans living on the fringes of society who roam the United States in their vans. Zhao is the second woman to win the Golden Globe in this category, preceded by Barbra Streisand’s musical film Yentl in 1984.

The evening definitely went against most critics’ predictions. Mank, the feature film by David Fincher, produced by Netflix and directed in black and white, was nominated six times but left empty-handed. The Chicago Seven, Aaron Sorkin’s drama on crackdowns on anti-Vietnam War protests in 1968, left with the Golden Globe for best screenplay.

Unlike last year, Netflix performed fantastically, much due to the success of two of its series, The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit, which totaled five awards between them. The entire platform, nominated 34 times, took home ten statuettes, whereas its most competitive rival, Amazon Prime Video Originals, only received three.

The British series The Crown won the Golden Globes for the Best Dramatic Series, the Best Actor in a Dramatic Series (awarded to Josh O’Connor who plays Prince Charles), the Best Actress in a Dramatic Series (for Emma Corrin’s portrayal of Princess Diana), and Best Supporting Actress (for Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher). On the miniseries side, The Queen’s Gambit, which follows a young chess prodigy, obtained two Golden Globes (Best Miniseries and Best Actress in a Miniseries for Anya Taylor-Joy).

The award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Film was awarded to the late Chadwick Boseman for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the last work he played in before losing his fight with cancer. The star made A-list through Marvel’s Black Panther, winning against heavyweights like Anthony Hopkins, an eight-time Golden Globe nominee, and Gary Oldman. This posthumous title is not a first for the Golden Globes—Heath Ledger won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight in 2009—but a first for Boseman himself.

The nominees were well deserved and the awards displayed a great deal of diversity.

This ceremony awarded several actors of color. In addition to Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Kaluuya won the Best Supporting Role for his performance in the film Judas and the Black Messiah, in which he played Fred Hampton, the young leader of the Black revolutionary movement of Black Panthers. John Boyega was also awarded for his work in the Small Axe series.

Andra Day was awarded Best Actress in a Dramatic Film, playing Billie Holiday, a famous jazz singer in the 1940s, victim of multiple addictions and targeted by US federal authorities, in Billie Holiday: A State Affair. To everyone’s surprise, she won against established actresses such as Viola Davis or Frances McDormand. Rosamund Pike won the prize for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in the film I Care A Lot, against the favorite, Maria Bakalova, who played the daughter of Borat in Borat 2.

Despite this loss, Borat 2 did not leave empty-handed. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, the creator of Borat, whose sequel was produced by Amazon Studios, received the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy, and the film won the award for Best Comedy.

All in all, this year’s Golden Globes provided for a very well-balanced and appropriate ceremony. The nominees were well deserved and the awards displayed a great deal of diversity in movie styles and movie provenance. Oscars, here we come!