If this were a normal year, Hollywood’s awards season would already be over.
This being the opposite of a normal year, however, the Golden Globes have only just aired, and the glitterati of TV and film Zoomed in from their homes, wearing everything from haute couture to homey sweatshirts. One winner, Chloé Zhao—the first Asian woman to win the Globe for best director—toasted the camera with a mug. No trophies were handed out; they’d be delivered safely at a later date. No A-listers were seen mingling or milling about the ballroom at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton Hotel. Technical difficulties abounded, and early in the ceremony, three members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the voting body behind the Globes, addressed the organization’s ethical issues (namely, that it includes zero Black members) while standing stiffly onstage and reading from the teleprompter like glass-eyed automatons. A party, this was not.
Looking back at more than a year’s worth of film and television in a virtual format certainly made the ceremony drag on. And yet, despite the way the Globes felt lost in time, they celebrated several strikingly timely movies. The biggest film honorees all say something about the changing American identity, with narratives that urgently stressed the country’s dire political climate. Nomadland, Zhao’s poignant look at a wandering population searching for a meaningful life after suffering from the 2008 recession, took home the trophy for best drama; Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, the writer and actor Sacha Baron Cohen’s follow-up to his 2006 hit made specifically in time for the 2020 presidential election, won for best comedy or musical; and Minari, the writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s empathetic look at a Korean American family learning to assimilate in 1980s Arkansas, won for best foreign-language film.