• Golden Globe Awards

Making History: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion

On Sunday, January 9, 2022, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez made history by becoming the first transgender actress to win a Golden Globe. Against a backdrop of philanthropic involvement that has seen the Hollywood Foreign Press Association give away $50 million over 25 years, the winners of the Golden Globes were announced at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
In keeping with the theme of the night, the Reimagine Coalition (see video here) with the NAACP and other partners was introduced, its purpose to bring about long-lasting global change to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive industry. Kyle Bowser, SVP of the NAACP Hollywood Bureau, took to the stage stating, “The NAACP applauds our advocacy allies for pressing HFPA reforms, and we now welcome the HFPA as a partner in the larger agenda to realize equity and inclusion through Hollywood.” He added, “We must be mindful that scapegoats are typically bred by the herd.” He invited “all industry institutions to join our Reimagine Coalition effort with actionable plans for accountability and allyship.” His words were greeted with a standing ovation.
Given the commitment to reimagining the world, it was fitting to see the outpouring of love on social media as Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, who won for Best Actress in a TV Drama for her performance in Pose, thanked the Golden Globes organization with the words, “This is the door that is going to open the door for many young talented individuals. They will see that it is more than possible. They will see a young Black Latina girl from Newark, New Jersey who had a dream to change the minds others would WITH LOVE.” She said further, “To my young LGBTQAI babies, WE ARE HERE the door is now open to reach the stars @goldenglobes.” She went on to call her fellow nominees in the category phenomenal. “Queens. I’m so happy to share the space with!”
The HFPA has a history of being at the forefront of new talent and filmmakers, often going against popular sentiment, as it did with Brokeback Mountain, awarding the film Best Motion Picture – Drama in 2006 for the story of a hidden love between two men; nominating three women directors in 2021- Regina King, Emerald Fennell and Chloé Zhao – the latter won for Nomadland. Best Director went to another woman this year when Jane Campion won for The Power of the Dog. The Globes also celebrated the nomination of three Muslim actors in 2021 Ramy Youssef for Ramy, Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal and Tahar Rahim for The Mauritanianwhich drew note because a Muslim actor had never before been nominated while playing a Muslim (although Omar Sharif took home three Golden Globes in the 1960s for his supporting role in Lawrence of Arabia and leading role in Doctor Zhivago). Debbie Allen took home Best Television Actress in a Comedy or Musical Series way back in 1983 for Fame. In 2015, Variety’s Steven Gaydos alluded to the HFPA’s track record in “rewarding edgier, more demanding achievements in the dramatic film category” while touting the Golden Globes nominations of such films as Boyhood over Birdman, and The Social Network over The King’s Speech to name just a few.
It was therefore exciting to see Rachel Zegler of West Side Story advocate the “hope that we continue to talk to each other for meaningful change,” in her salute to her Golden Globe win.

Zegler noted the importance of entertainment “to properly represent its audience.”
Ariana DeBose in her nod to her Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture, also for West Side Story, hashtagged: #latinosinfilm #afrolatina and #queertalent.

Other talents that were celebrated included Nicole Kidman for her role as Lucille Ball, a woman who broke barriers with her show I Love Lucy, Barry JenkinsThe Underground Railroad, his adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about slaves making a bid for freedom in the 19th century, and Encanto’s Carlos Vives, Wilmer Valderrama and John Leguizamo, but the most effusive shoutout came from nominee and Pose partner Billy Porter. “Y’all!!! Look at my sister!!!” He posted on Instagram, “Can you say groundbreaker? #Blueprint MJ Rodriguez, I am so very proud of you. Here’s to this everlasting honoring to MANY accolades and awards headed your way.”

Congratulations to all the winners. The HFPA looks forward to celebrating 80 years of acknowledging the best in entertainment next year. It also looks forward to its partnership with the Reimagine Coalition which not only has many exciting projects in the upcoming months and years but invites the rest of the entertainment world to join them in realizing equity, diversity and opportunity throughout the industry.
Credit: Social Media Research – Yulia Lolo/HFPA