2021 Golden Globes: Pandemic Effects & Historic Firsts

Lights! Camera! Action! One of Hollywood’s biggest nights is finally happening. The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air Sunday on NBC.  This is the first major awards ceremony of the season – and it’s during a global pandemic!  Well, in addition to the nominated movies and TV shows set to take center stage, there are several history making moments also sharing the spotlight.

This year’s Golden Globes is treading on new territory.  For the first time, the star-studded affair is going virtual. Comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are making their 4th appearance as hosts with a bit of a twist. Sandra Oh, Sarah Paulson and Tracy Morgan are presenters. The red carpet is being rolled out on two coasts. Fey will be on the East Coast live from New York’s Rainbow Room and Poehler will be on the West Coast live in Beverly Hills from the Beverly Hilton.

It’s a social-distance affair for the nominees, too. There’s no glitz or glam or swanky venue with exceptional bar service. Instead, Hollywood’s finest will kick-back and give acceptance speeches remotely from the comfort of their homes.  

There’s also a notable shift for nominations in the Best Director: Motion Picture Category. For the first time, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) included nods to three women. Regina King, who steps behind the camera to direct her first feature film (One Night in Miami); Chloe Zhao who is the first woman of Asian descent to be recognized in this category for Nomadland, and Emerald Fennell for her first feature film (Promising Young Woman). This is a big deal!  It’s a historic first for the Golden Globes!  HFPA has never nominated multiple women in the Best Director category.  This much needed change is perfectly timed since the organization has been criticized for its lack of nominating female directors.  

Rounding out this year’s historic firsts, is HFPA’s choice for Golden Globe Ambassadors. In a monumental move, the organization selected Satchel and Jackson Lee. They are the son and daughter of renowned filmmaker and three-time Golden Globe nominee Spike Lee. Choosing the brother and sister duo is extremely significant. They are the first two siblings of color to be elected to the honorable position. Also, Jackson will have a solo place in history as the first ever Black male Ambassador.  

There are unprecedented  adjustments and a few long overdue changes to this year’s Golden Globes. Hopefully, what remains is a night of entertainment and fun while recognizing excellence in both film and television. 

Catch the live broadcast of The 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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Cheryl Grant

Cheryl Grant is a film critic and entertainment industry veteran who has been heard on the airwaves of The Tom Joyner Morning Show and Radio One stations across the country. Follow her on Instagram at: @news2cher.

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