3 Black Film Actors Won a Golden Globe Award for the First Time Since 2007

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Diversity disparity has always been a controversy around popular award functions. The Golden Globes are no strangers to that. Thus, amid many controversies over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s racial disparities, the 2021 Golden Globes announced unexpected winners for some of their awards. The 78th Golden Globes saw three African-American actors as winners of the individual awards in the film and television category. This achievement has been achieved for the first time since 2007, which was fourteen years ago. 

Daniel Kaluuya was the first Black winner of the day. He won the best supporting actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. John Boyega took the award for supporting TV Actor for Small Axe home and was the only actor of color to win an award in the small screen category this year. 

Later in the show’s broadcast, the late Chadwick Boseman was posthumously awarded the lead actor award in a drama film for his film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Andra Day won the award for lead actress for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. She became the second black woman to have won the lead actress’s award, the first black woman being Whoopi Goldberg in 2008.

Another moment for the award function that went down in history would be filmmaker Chloé Zhao winning for her movie Nomadland. She became the first Asian woman and the second woman in 78 years to have taken the Best Director award home. Barbra Streisand had been the first woman to have won the best director award for her film Yentl in 1984. The award for a motion picture- drama also went to Zhao’s film Nomadland.

When it came to below-the-line film categories, Soul won the best-animated motion picture award. The movie has a Black co-director Kemp Powers and co-composer, John Batiste.

However, when it came to awards in the series category, all three awards went to programs led by white creatives only. The Crown picked up the award for its second-ever drama series statue, while the comedy series trophy went to Ted Lasso for its first season. The Queen’s Gambit won in the limited series/TV movie category.  

The Golden Globes of 2020 only saw one awardee who was a person of color from the film category. This was none other than Awkwafina for The Farewell. From the TV category, creator Ramy Yousef won the musical or comedy actor. However, TV winners’ representation has been steady among the TV category winners between 2020 and 2021. The film category saw a significant increase in representation as half of the awards from Sunday night went to the Black performers. Such a great scenario had not been seen since 2019 when Mahershala Ali, Rami Malek, and Regina King picked up trophies in the film categories. Darren Criss and Sandra Oh picked up wins for the TV side that year as well.

In the last two decades, there has not been any Black voting member on the HFPA, and the nominees and winners lists have come nowhere close to parity. Therefore, this disparity that sees the dominance of white entertainers over people of color is not new.

Also, it was within this past decade that there was an actual year with zero BIPOC TV winners. The 71st annual Golden Globes in 2014 saw this happen. Within the past two decades, there was a year with zero BIPOC TV nominees too. It was the 59th annual awards in 2002. The last time a TV series came from a BIPOC creator and showrunner and won was at the 74th annual Golden Globes when Stephen and Donald Glover’s won the musical or comedy series award for Atlanta in 2017.

Having zero BIPOC acting winners has occurred more often than not on the film side than on the television side; the 2002-2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014-2016, and 2018 ceremonies consisted of only winners who were people of non-color.

The membership is down to only 87 in the HFPA this year, and only a few of those journalists are people of color. But currently, there are still no Black members in the organization, and therefore none have the chance to vote for the 78th annual Golden Globe Award winners. 

Thus, the diversity problem with the Golden Globes clearly starts within its own organization’s racial confines.

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