Opinion Piece: More Diversity for the Golden Globes Awards this Year, including Chloe Zhao Winning Best Director

This year’s 78th annual Golden Globes made history. Chloe Zhao won best director for her film Nomadland, starring the wonderful Frances McDormand. She is the first Asian woman to win the Best Director award and the second woman ever to win this award. The only other time a woman has won at the Golden Globes for best director was back in 1984 when Barbra Streisand won for her musical romance film, Yentl. Zhao’s film is much different from the normal winners at Hollywood awards shows, as it was uniquely shot as a narrative film but documentary-style. In Zhao’s acceptance speech, she thanked everyone that worked on Nomadland and the nomads that had shared their stories with her.


Thankfully, this year’s Golden Globes seemed to be more diverse all around. Nomadland star Frances McDormand was nominated for her performance at age 63. This is huge considering the amount of alienation that women over 40 have experienced in Hollywood historically. Even more amazing, is that she was not shown in glitz and glamour, but the exact opposite. We are finally seeing less glamour at Hollywood awards shows and now seeing real stories with gritty and raw representations.


Two other women, Regina King and Emerald Fennell, were also nominated for best director. King, a woman of color, was nominated for her film One Night in Miami and Fennell for her film Promising Young Woman. It was clear that this year the Golden Globes were showing more ethnic diversity. Along with King and Zhao, Daniel Kalyuula, also a person of color, won best supporting actor in a motion picture for his incredible performance in Judas and the Black Messiah. Viola Davis, a woman of color, was nominated for best actress in a motion picture drama. Andra Day, also a woman of color, won the best lead actress golden globe award for her performance in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. The late Chadwick Boseman, man of color, won best actor in a motion picture drama for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.


Queer representation was also shown this year at the Golden Globes. Jodie Foster won for best supporting actress in a motion picture for The Mauritanian. She even accepted the award while sitting beside her wife, Alexandra Hedison, in their pajamas. Jim Parsons and Dan Levy, both gay men, were also nominated for their performances for best supporting actor in a television series. Parsons for Hollywood and Levy for Schitt’s Creek. Sarah Paulson, who is sexually fluid, and Cynthia Nixon, who is bisexual, were both nominated for Ratched. The Golden Globe 2021 winners and nominees showed a much more diverse group of people than they have in the past and hopefully we will see the Oscars and Emmys moving in the same direction!


It is extremely refreshing to see these changes for the better. For many years women, BIPOC’s, and the LGBTQ+ community have been overlooked and not given the appreciation and attention they deserve. Many people have criticized the Golden Globes in years past for their lack of diversity, and have continued to do so this year despite the progress. People were outraged that Miniari, which won best foreign language film, was not eligible to be nominated for best motion picture because it had more than 50% of the dialogue in non-English language. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, hosts for the 2021 Golden Globes, took jabs at the Hollywood Foreign Press for overlooking black-led films and black actors. They even discussed how there is not one single black member of the Hollywood Foreign Press.


Although this year at the Golden Globes was a huge win for women everywhere and there was more diversity shown than in previous years, it does not mean that we are anywhere near where we need to be. Unfortunately, we are still far from the representation and acceptance that is needed for women, BIPOC’s, LGBTQ+ community, and disabled people in the film industry. While we are overdue in diversity, and we want to see more abundance faster, it is important to celebrate the wins and progress we are making.


We have many women to thank for the progress we’ve made in entertainment, due to their hard work and dedication. Some of these women include Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win an Oscar for best director for her film Hurt Locker, Penny Marshall for her work on the female empowerment film A League of Their Own and for being the first woman to direct a film that grossed over $100 Million in the U.S. for Big, and Dorothy Arzner who was the first woman to join the Director’s Guild of America!


Although, historically, we have a lack of female, ethnic, and queer representation at film awards, including the Golden Globes, Chloe Zhao winning for best director and many other nominees such as Regina King and Dan Levy gives a glimmer of hope that the future will hold more representation for women, BIPOCs, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. It is crucial that we continue to take the steps in this direction and advocate for acceptance and representation.


Congratulations to Chloe Zhao, Adra Day, Regina King and all the other winners and nominees!