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The Golden Globes 2021 Snubs are a Tough Pill to Swallow

Michaela Coel at a red carpet event in a bold patterned strapless dress
Getty Images

The Golden Globes have always had a soft spot for mediocrity, as though the very idea of nominating content that reflects the times is against their nature. Sound harsh? Well, it’s not, because this is an awards show with a long history of outdated regulations and blatant favouritism (read: straight white folx).

A quick Google search of the 2021 Golden Globe nominations reveals more think-pieces on the shocking snubs than the actual list of nominees. It happens every year – and it’s never surprising. The Globes – or more specifically, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) – have been criticized for being out-of-touch for years. Even in 2021, we’re still expected to reconcile the fact that Emily in Paris trumped I May Destroy You in nominations. Any brief moments of progress (and they are fleeting) are immediately stamped out by sheer absurdity.

Related: Golden Globes 2021: see the nominees!

While the Oscars, Emmy’s and Grammy’s certainly get their fair share of (well-deserved) knocks for their lack of diversity, the Globes, in particular, has carried on with this concerning trend at an alarming rate. Some will argue that entertainment is subjective (which it is), but if you’re a global organization comprised of journalists from across the globe, shouldn’t you be a little more… diverse in your selections?

Which is great news until you consider the fact that only five womxn in the entire history of the Golden Globes have ever been nominated in that category.

For the first time in Globes history, three womxn were nominated for Best Director (Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, Regina King for One Night in Miami and Chloe Zhao for Nomadland) – which is great news until you consider the fact that only five womxn in the entire history of the Globes have ever been nominated in that category. So, no, the HFPA doesn’t get a cookie. This needs to be an ongoing trend. Next year, barring any more COVID lockdowns, will be a true test as many studios have withheld their major award contenders (*ahem* directed by white men, we might add) for when movie theatres are back in business.

Then there’s the online debate over Minari in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Lee Isaac Chung’s critically-acclaimed indie about a Korean family starting a farm in 1980s Arkansas fell victim to a controversial HFPA rule: if more than 50 per cent of a film’s dialogue isn’t in English, it can’t be nominated for Best Picture. (Yes, you read that right.) This isn’t the first time this it has happened either: the Globes famously barred Roma and Parasite from Best Picture consideration in their respective years – two eventual historic Oscar winners. Film aficionados are still coming off the high of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite dominating the 2019 Oscars, but it would appear that, in Hollywood, one step forward equals major steps backward.


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Due to its TV premiere on Disney+ the Tony-winning musical Hamilton landed a couple of noms, including Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for Lin Manuel Miranda. But where was his equally lauded co-star Leslie Odom Jr.? Nowhere to be found. Instead, James Corden found himself in the awards race for his problematic performance in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix musical The Prom – a role that resulted in severe backlash from the LGBTQ+ community for its offensive stereotypes of a gay man (complete with a lisp and a swishy walk, we kid you not).

Bridgerton fans lost their collective minds when the Regency-era English drama produced by Shonda Rhimes didn’t even get a mention. You’d think, with all the juicy storylines, overwhelming popularity and diverse casting, it would have at least landed a couple of acting noms. Alas, the HFPA had no time for Lady Whistledown and her ilk.

Uzo Aduba, who picked up a Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Emmy in September for her performance in Mrs. America, was completely ignored.

This isn’t a snub, but needs to be said: Sia’s still-to-be-released directorial debut Music received a couple of nods despite the fact that the only thing most of us know about the film is the Twitter tantrum the singer threw when the autism community called her out for falling back on tired tropes about what autism looks like. (If you haven’t seen the trailer, it’s an offensive cringe-fest.) We can only imagine the size of the cheque Sia cut the HFPA to include it.


And then there’s I May Destroy You, perhaps the most egregious omission of them all. Most pundits were banking on the HBO show to land nominations for Best Limited Series or Motion Picture and consideration for its jack of all trades Michaela Coel who wrote, directed, produced and starred in the harrowing account of a woman’s sexual assault – and which also happened to be based on her own real-life experience. It was wrought with tension, yet still managed to find humour and tenderness in certain moments. But, cool news about Emily in Paris, I guess.

Other snubs

Zendaya (Emmy-winner Zendaya, we should add) and John David Washington were ignored for their performances in Malcolm & Marie.

HBO’s Lovecraft Country landed a coveted spot in the Best Drama – TV category, but its captivating stars, Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett, were overlooked.

Uzo Aduba, who picked up a Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Emmy in September for her performance in Mrs. America, was completely ignored. I guess an Emmy win didn’t warrant a Globe nomination?

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The Mandalorian‘s enigmatic star Pedro Pascal didn’t appear to deserve a nod despite the fact that the Star Wars universe series got a Best Drama nomination.

Black-led films, such as Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Regina King’s One Night in Miami, didn’t get the recognition they deserved. Lee’s film didn’t even warrant one single nomination.


The Golden Globes nominees were announced Feb. 3 by Taraji P. Henson and Sarah Jessica Parker. The virtual ceremony airs Feb. 28. At least many of the actors fared better in Screen Actors Guild Award nominations that were released Feb. 4. See the full list here. The Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held virtually on April 4, 2021.

See also: Top 6 films to look out for at the 2021 Toronto Black Film Festival.

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