On 3rd February, the annual Golden Globes nominees were announced. Some of the big winners included Nomadland, The Father and The Mauritanian. Heard of them? Yeah, me neither. Many of the films nominated are not yet available to mass audiences due to their belated streaming premieres. While award shows are meant to provide a highlight of the best artistic works of entertainment of any given year and act as a guide to what to watch, the 2021 Golden Globes have attracted more attention for those works that were left out.
Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, an exploration of sexual assault that received widespread critical acclaim, was excluded from all 12 categories. Emily in Paris, the tale of an American expat’s stereotyped and condescending journey in France, received two major nominations: Best Comedy and Best Actress.
I May Destroy You, a limited series about relationships, identity, sex and assault, has been hailed a masterpiece and a work of genius. Deborah Copaken, a writer on Emily in Paris, tweeted that I May Destroy You “was my favourite show since the dawn of TV, & this is just wrong.” In a Guardian article, she wrote how her excitement over the nomination of Emily in Paris was “tempered by my rage over Coel’s snub.”
The surprising exclusion of such a celebrated show has invited scrutiny into the already mysterious voting body of the Golden Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The H.F.P.A is comprised of about 90 members, compared to the Academy Awards’ more than 6000, who are largely anonymous foreign language journalists living in Southern California. In past years, it has been dogged by accusations of corruption, sexual assault and bribery. This confusing batch of nominations will do nothing to further diminish the award ceremony’s fading significance, which has often been viewed as an indicator for more prestigious Oscar success.
Along with I May Destroy You, One Night in Miami, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods were largely omitted or entirely snubbed. Nominees for every category this year are majority white or the work of white creators.
It is disappointing that the talking point of this year’s nominations surround the exclusion of a deeply deserving and important show, instead of the positive progress that has been made. Having only nominated five female directors in its 78-years history, the Golden Globes nominated three this year.
Regina King for One Night in Miami, Chloé Zhao for Nomadland and Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman will compete against two male nominees, Aaron Sorkin for The Trial of the Chicago 7 and David Fincher for Mank.
A majority of women make up the shortlist for Best Director. This comes from an organisation that that has only ever nominated five female directors. It last nominated a woman in 2014, with Ava DuVernay for Selma, and only awarded the honour to a woman in 1983, Barbra Streisand for Yentl. This is a long-overdue development and hopefully demonstrates a trend that will continue. In the midst of these chaotic nominations and this tumultuous year for television and film, it is an important and hopeful silver lining.