Three Black Film Actors Win Golden Globes for the First Time Since 2007
Three Black Film Actors Win Golden Globes for the First Time Since 2007 (PC: IMDb)

Amid controversy over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s own diversity disparity, the 2021 Golden Globe winners included three Black actors awarded in the film categories for the first time since 2007, and four Black winners overall, but showed no gains on the diversity front in TV.

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The first two winners of the night were Black performers, Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”) for supporting film actor and John Boyega (“Small Axe”) for supporting TV actor, who was ultimately the only person of color to win in the small screen categories.

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As the broadcast continued, the late Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) posthumously won the award for lead actor in a drama film. Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) became the second Black woman to win the Golden Globe award for lead actress in a drama film. (The first Black woman to win the award was Whoopi Goldberg in 1986.)

The film awards featured another historic moment when “Nomadland” filmmaker Chlo? Zhao became the first Asian woman and the second woman in 78 years to win the award for best director. (Barbra Streisand won in 1984 for directing “Yentl.”) Zhao’s film also won the award for motion picture-drama, while “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” picked up the award for comedy.

In the below-the-line film categories, “Soul,” which won the Globe for best animated motion picture, also netted wins for its Black co-director Kemp Powers and co-composer Jon Batiste.

When it came to series, all three categories went to programs led by white creatives, though: “The Crown” picked up its second-ever drama series statue, “Ted Lasso” picked up a comedy series trophy for its first season, and “The Queen Gambit” won in the limited series/TV movie category.

Last year’s Golden Globes only awarded one person of color from the film side (Awkwafina for “The Farewell”) and one from TV (“Ramy” creator Ramy Youssef, who won the musical or comedy actor statue). As such, representation among TV winners was steady between 2020 and 2021, while film saw a major increase, with half of Sunday night’s trophies going to Black performers. This was the best case scenario for representation since 2019, when Rami Malek, Mahershala Ali and Regina King won trophies in the film categories, while Sandra Oh and Darren Criss picked up wins on the TV side.

This year’s list of BIPOC winners also ties the figure from the 63rd awards in 2007, when film stars Forest Whitaker, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson, along with America Ferrara on the TV side, first made history with the most Golden Globes awarded to actors of color in a single year.

Last year, all three series wins also went to series led by white creatives: Jesse Armstrong’s “Succession” for drama series, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s “Fleabag” for musical or comedy series and Craig Mazin’s “Chernobyl” for limited series/TV movie. The film side of the ballot also saw white winners for screenplay, directing and feature films: the drama feature trophy went to Sam Mendes’ “1917,” while musical or comedy went to Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and those men won the directing and screenplay statues, respectively. Last year’s foreign language film winner, “Parasite,” went on to win the Oscar for best picture; this year, Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” took home the foreign language trophy.

The dominance of white nominees and winners is nothing new. Over the last two decades, during which there have not been any Black voting members of the HFPA, the nominees and winners lists have come nowhere close to parity.

It was within this past decade that there was a year with zero BIPOC TV winners (the 71st annual Golden Globes in 2014) and within the past two decades that there was a year with zero BIPOC TV nominees (the 59th annual awards in 2002). And the last time a winning TV series came from a BIPOC creator and showrunner was at the 74th annual Golden Globes in 2017 when Donald and Stephen Glover’s “Atlanta” won the musical or comedy series statue.

On the film side, having zero BIPOC acting winners has occurred more often than not; the 2002-2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014-2016 and 2018 ceremonies had all non-POC winners.

With membership down to only 87 in the HFPA this year, a handful of those journalists are people of color, but there are still no Black members currently in the org and therefore none voting for the 78th annual Golden Globe Award winners. As noted by Time’s Up in the minutes after the broadcast ended, the diversity problem with the Golden Globes clearly starts within its own organization.

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