Golden Globe

Golden Globes Diversity Takes 2 Steps Forward, 1 Back

Movies featuring strong African-American themes and performers of Asian descent made the nomination cut; female directors, not so much

While it would be going too far to say the upcoming Golden Globes ceremony could be branded #GlobesSoDiverse, the nominations for the annual award ceremony announced Thursday are at least a step in the right direction.

Still, many are criticizing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for their lack of nominations of females in the motion picture directing category.

The annual award season, which includes the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes, has been accused of a lack of diversity for years, with criticism reaching its peak in 2016 when #OscarsSoWhite became common usage across social media platforms.

Of this year’s nominees in the best picture categories, four of the 10 films were helmed by non-white directors, a first for the Globes. John M. Chu’s “Crazy Rich Asians” earned its place in the comedy/musical category, while Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” and Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” were all named in the drama category.

But when it came to nominating film directors, not a single female made the list.

The all-male line-up is Bradley Cooper for “A Star Is Born,” “BlacKkKlansman’s” Spike Lee (his second Globe directing nomination since “Do the Right Thing” in 1990), Alfonso Cuaron for “Roma,” “Green Book’s” Peter Farrelly, and Adam McKay for “Vice.”

Sure, the HFPA only nominates five directors here, eschewing the drama/comedy split reserved for most other categories, but with Natalie Portman highlighting the same shutout during the 2017 ceremony when she introduced the award category with “And here are all the male nominees…,” it’s a glaring repeat of what has come before.

Only five women have ever been nominated to the film directing category in the history of the Globes: Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”), Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) and Barbra Streisand (“Yentl” and “The Prince of Tides”). Streisand is the only one to win, for 1984’s “Yentl.”

On the flip side it’s good to be Golden Globes’ host Sandra Oh. Not only will she be the first performer of Asian descent to host a major awards show (alongside “Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s” Andy Samberg), but she’s also nominated to the lead TV drama actress race for her role in “Killing Eve.” A win here would make Korean-Canadian Oh the first Asian performer ever to win multiple Golden Globes, following her previous award for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Constance Wu has already made history with her nomination to the lead actress comedy or musical category for “Crazy Rich Asians.” She’s the first person of Asian descent nominated to the category in almost half a century.

Prior to Wu, it was Yvonne Elliman for her work in 1974’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Following the announcement of her nomination, Wu tweeted, “I’m ecstatic but also in shock!”

Later Thursday she told The Hollywood Reporter that “for so long Asian-Americans have been in film and TV, but we've always been supporting another culture's story. We've never been leading our culture's story.”

Thanks to the inclusions and exclusions above, it’s probably a safe bet many acceptance speeches on the night will be politically charged. Best picture nominees “Black Panther,” “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “BlacKkKlansman” all deal with black themes, while multiple-category nominees “Green Book” and “Vice” address social and political issues from America’s past. All speak to the current state of the nation.

NBC will broadcast the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards live starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Jan. 6, 2019.

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