NEW YORK – Greek-American Ted Sarandos with roots in Samos serves as the co-chief executive officer and chief content officer for Netflix which won big at the 78th Golden Globe Awards on February 28. The streaming service came away with 10 awards out of its 42 nominations.
With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Greek-American Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced Golden Globes trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), with top awards going to Nomadland for Best Drama, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm for Best Comedy, The Crown for Best TV Drama, and Schitt's Creek for Best TV Comedy.
The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie Nomadland, a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for Yentl in 1984.
With a canceled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavor. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood.
Amazon's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Baron Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.”
“I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," he said.
Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana), and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). The Queen's Gambit won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. Schitt's Creek, the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series for her role in the show.
Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award.
“He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.”
Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's Ted Lasso.
The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other.
“I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.”
They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said.
In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, get his speech in. When he finally came through, he wagged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!"
Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the HFPA, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in.
This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah, Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue.
“Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.”
Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step with history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.”
Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; Aaron Sorkin (Trial of the Chicago 7) for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) for best actress in a drama.
The full list of winners is available online: https://www.goldenglobes.com.
The Academy Awards will be held April 25.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.