“I’m here because I’m black.” The first words of comedian Jerrod Carmichael broke the ice and referred to the elephant in the room, the controversy that marked the Golden Globes last year. The presenter kicked off the 80th edition of the awards with a scathing monologue that left many speechless, including Brad Pitt. He explained the moral dilemma he experienced when a producer called him on behalf of the organizers to essentially whitewash an organization in trouble for its lack of diversity. “I wouldn’t say they’re racist, but they didn’t have a single black member before George Floyd died. I’m going to let you judge,” said Carmichael, who revealed that he was paid half a million dollars to stand there tonight. “I took this job believing that not much has changed,” he said briskly. The show in Hollywood had to go on.
Banshees by Inisherin has been the big winner of the night. Although the Globes distinguish between comedy films and dramas, playwright Martin McDonagh’s latest black comedy about a dispute between two old friends in a small Irish island town won three awards. The one for best actor in a comedy or musical film went to Colin Farrell, one of its protagonists along with Brendan Gleeson. McDonagh also took home the award for best screenplay.
It is often said that the Golden Globes are the prelude to the Oscar. This Tuesday night can mark the path of Steven Spielberg to a new Academy statuette. The 74-year-old veteran director has won best dramatic film and best director for his most personal film, The Fabelmans, that talks about the divorce of his parents and the moment where his love for cinema was born. “I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old… I’ve told it in parts in many of my movies: ET, it has a lot of it,” said the filmmaker. The director began developing the idea with his producer, Tony Kushner, almost 20 years ago. Finally, it was the coronavirus crisis that convinced him. “We didn’t know if we could tell another story… No one knows who we are until we have the courage to say who we are,” he said. Those tonight have become the fourth awards of his career.
One of the big questions of the night was whether members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) were going to award Brendan Fraser for The whale, a performance that has been critically acclaimed. He was one of the few actors to boycott this year’s ceremony because he was sexually harassed in 2003 by the organization’s former president. HFPA voters have made it clear that they did not take that absence well (Zendaya and Cate Blanchett, who were also not present, won). Austin Butler, 31 years old, was chosen for the male award of the night for playing Elvis Presley in the work of Baz Luhrman.
The Mexican Guillermo del Toro got a new Golden Globe for the adaptation he made for Netflix of pinocchio. The director gave thanks for being reunited with his peers in what he considered a great year for cinema and his stories. More euphoria to go on stage was shown by the Argentines Santiago Miter and Ricardo Darin, who won the best non-English language film for Argentina, 1985, a film that addresses the first trials of the military junta in democracy. “After the world championship, this is another great joy,” Darin managed to say before the producers’ music brought him down.
Other great favorites did come out with the prizes that everyone predicted for them. Especially, Michelle Yeoh, the Chinese actress who, at the age of 60, has won her first Globe for Everything at once everywhere, an independent work of science fiction that caused a furore in theaters. “It has been a fantastic journey. It was a dream to come to Hollywood until I got here,” she said with a laugh. “Here someone told me: you are a minority. I told him that was impossible. They also told me that I should learn English,” she continued.
Spielberg’s was not the only award-winning career tonight. Eddie Murphy, one of the first blacks to break out in comedy alongside Pryor and Cosby, picked up the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his more than 40 years in the industry. In one of the shortest speeches of a verbiage night, Murphy humorously revealed the secret to success. “There are only three things to do: Pay your taxes, focus on your own business and keep the name of Will Smith’s wife out of your fucking mouth,” he yelled to laughter from the audience. In addition, the television super producer and gay activist, Ryan Murphy, won the Carol Burnett award for her work, which has placed gay and trans actors at the forefront of dozens of series such as glee, Pose Y american horror story.
Since Carmichael’s presentation, the night has passed with diversity as its main theme. The first two awards of the night went to actors of color, underscoring the message of change that the HFPA underscored the intent for change. Ke Huy Quan won best supporting actor for his role in All at Once Everywhere. On stage he thanked the first to give him a role in the movies, Steven Spielberg. The director included it in the second installment of Indiana Jones, in 1984. “For a long time I thought that I would never get over what I did as a child. More than 30 years later, two guys remembered me and gave me a chance to try again,” the actor said in an emotional speech. Her award was followed by Angela Bassett, who has won her second Globe for her appearance in the Black Panther sequel: Wakanda Forever. The last time she was on that stage was in 1994, when she played Tina Turner in a biopic. She tonight she dedicated a few words to the late Chadwick Boseman. “We have shown the world what black unity, leadership and love can do behind and in front of the camera,” she said.
The first white to win came when the gala number 80 of the awards exceeded half an hour. It went to composer Justin Horowitz, the musician and frequent collaborator of Damien Chazelle, the director of Babylon. Horowitz has taken his fourth Golden Globe for music tonight. But after his and Jeremy Allan White’s award, who won for his performance as chef Carmy Berzatto on the television phenomenon The Bear, the recognitions for minorities returned. Indian singer Chandrabose took home the best song award for the theme he composed for the three-hour epic RRR.
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