2021 Golden Globes: The good, the bad and the awkward from the virtual award ceremony

Elisabetta Bianchini
·8-min read
2021 Golden Globes: The good, the bad and the awkward from the virtual award ceremony

There's no mistaking it, the 2021 Golden Globes were unlike the ceremonies of years past and we hope things will change for the better next year.

For better or worse, there were certainly a number of moments that stood out, with nominees and award winners physically distant checking in on video calls.

If you didn't tune into the three-hour event on Sunday night, here are some of the highlights and most notable moments you missed.

Tina Fey, Amy Poehler take jabs at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Some issues couldn't be missed in advance of the 2021 Golden Globes, all the controversies surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

An investigation published by the Los Angeles Times last week reported that the 87-person group of journalists does not include any Black members.

Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler couldn't begin the show without taking a jab at the HFPA, particularly the lack of diversity in their group.

"I realize HFPA, maybe you guys didn't get the memo because your workplace is the back booth of a French McDonald's but you've got to change that, so here's to changing it," Fey said.

Additionally, the Los Angeles Times investigation revealed that the HFPA regular issued "substantial payments" to its members and in 2019, 30 members of the HFPA flew to France to visit the set of the series Emily in Paris, which included a two-night stay at the Peninsula Paris hotel where room rates are about US$1,400 a night.

When the nominees were announced, the HFPA faced criticism after movies featuring Black storytelling, including Regina King’s One Night in Miami, Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, were notably absent in the best motion picture category, and Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You was missing from the television nominations entirely, while Emily in Paris did make the cut.

"A lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens OK, that's like their thing," Poehler said. "But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked."

Canadians win big with 'Schitt's Creek'

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Despite the controversy around the Golden Globe nominations, Canadians have something to celebrate as CBC's Schitt's Creek won the award for best comedy or musical television series.

"This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the message Schitt's Creek has come to stand for. The idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," co-creator Dan Levy said in his acceptance speech.

"In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year this ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated."

Catherine O'Hara also received her first Golden Globe award ever, after playing Moira Rose throughout the show's six seasons.

"From the first read through where no one had to fake a laugh, to the final day on set where everyone, except me, had to hold back their tears, it's an experience I will forever hold dear to my heart," O'Hara said in her acceptance speech.

Chadwick Boseman's wife tearfully accepts his award

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The late actor Chadwick Boseman won the 2021 Golden Globe award for best actor in a drama for his work on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Boseman's wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted the award on his behalf, going through the list of people he would have thanked.

“He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history," she said.

"And I don't have his words but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love."

The actor died in August at the age of 43 after battling cancer.

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Jane Fonda accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award

Jane Fonda received the Cecil B. DeMille Award this year and advocated for a more diverse, inclusive Hollywood as she accepted the prestigious prize.

"There's a story we've been afraid to see and hear about ourselves in this industry," Fonda said.

"A story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out. A story about who's offered a seat at the table and who is kept out of the room where decisions are made."

Fonda was celebrated for not only her acting prowess but also her commitment to activism throughout her life.

"There is a lot of glass on the floor from all of the ceilings that she has shattered," Kerry Washington said about Fonda.

"She is my role model, a real life superhero... She's an inspiration," Brie Larson added.

Fonda also highlighted how storytelling is "essential" during times of crises, just like these, and help us have empathy and "see each other in a new light."

"Let's all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone's story has a chance to be seen and heard," Fonda said.

"Art has always been not just in step with history but has led the way. So let's be leaders."

Sacha Baron Cohen won't let us forget that Rudy Giuliani moment

When Sacha Baron Cohen accepted his Golden Globe award for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm there was one "comedy genius" he had to thank for the movie's success - Rudy Giuliani.

"I've got to say this movie couldn't have been possible without my co-star, a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius. I'm talking, of course, about Rudy Giuliani," Cohen said.

"I mean, who could get more laughs out of one unzipping? Incredible... Rudy went on to star in a string of comedy films, hits like 'Four Seasons Landscaping,' 'Hair Dying of the Day,' and a courtroom drama, 'A Very Public Fart.'"

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was named the best comedy or musical film and Cohen received the award for best actor in a comedy or musical.

Stars are just like us, they still have video call issues

It has been almost a year since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. You may think that in that time society, especially Hollywood celebrities, would have surely figured out video calls, but that's clearly not the case.

The first flub was very early on, during the first acceptance speech in fact. Daniel Kaluuya received the award for best supporting actor in a movie for his work on Judas and the Black Messiah but all we heard was a mystery voice saying "I wish I could hear." We wished we could hear him too.

When Kaluuya's audio was finally working he responding by saying "you doing me dirty!"

But the virtual ceremony did give us some pleasant surprises. Some stars showed up with their dogs and kids.

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While other celebrities, like Jason Sudekis, showed up dressed as a pandemic award ceremony should allow.

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