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Golden Globes 2019 was reportedly a “lackluster” awards night for not having enough remarkable “moments,” if CNN is to be believed. A quick scan of Golden Globe-related headlines and tweets will strengthen this opinion. Yet diversity was front and center—even if many Twitter users weren’t happy with the final scores.
Sandra Oh, who made history as the event’s first Asian host and first Asian actress to win multiple Golden Globes, according to NBC News, set the tone Sunday night in her emotional opening banter with co-host Andy Samberg: “I said yes to the fear of being on this stage tonight because I wanted to be here to look out into this audience and witness this moment of change… Next year could be different … but right now, this moment is real. Trust me, it is real.”
After years of seeing awards shows dominated by white male nominees, the 76th Golden Globes toasted women and people of color early and often.
Oh won best performance by an actress in a drama television series for her role in the BBC’s Killing Eve, becoming the first Asian woman to take home the award in almost 40 years, the Independent also notes. She thanked her parents in Korean during her acceptance speech, to the delight of fans on Twitter.
Rami Malek, a diversity advocate of Egyptian descent, won best drama actor for his role as Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which also snagged best drama film. (View the full list of winners here.)
Meanwhile, Mahershala Ali won best actor in a supporting role for playing Black pianist Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book. The film, which Rotten Tomatoes critics rated 81 percent Fresh for taking “audiences on a surprisingly smooth ride through potentially bumpy subject matter” (namely, racism), also raked in top honors best comedy or musical film and best screenplay.
Darren Criss gave a shout out to representation and his Filipino mom at his acceptance speech when he won best actor in a mini-series or motion picture made for television for his role in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. “This has been a marvelous year for representation in Hollywood and I am so enormously proud to be a teeny-tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipino woman,” he gushed.
Regina King’s acceptance speech for winning best actress in a supporting role for If Beale Street Could Talk is also worth noting: “I’m making a vow—and it’s going to be tough—that everything I produce is going to be 50 percent women,” she said.
Another candid moment from Oh’s opening spiel came after she poked fun at the whitewashing of Asian-American roles in her opening speech, calling Crazy Rich Asians “the first studio film with an Asian-American lead since ‘Ghost in the Shell’ and ‘Aloha.’” It prompted Emma Stone, who was cast as quarter-Hawaiian and quarter-Chinese Allison Ng in Aloha, to shout out “I’m sorry!”
Yet Hollywood is still a ways away from turning diversity from mere moments into sustained main events. Last night’s winners weren’t enough for many Twitter users—especially as fan-favorite films like Black Panther were kept out of the major categories.
golden globes only nominated black panther, blackkklansman and crazy rich asians so ppl couldn’t say categories lacked in diversity and it showed— abbie blackkklansman (2018) for best picture (@gyllenhIs) January 7, 2019
Sandra Oh has a beautiful moment about the changing tides of representation and diversity in Hollywood. Cut to Michael Douglas winning the first award for a show literally no one I know has watched #GoldenGlobes— Meghan Collie (@MeghanCollie) January 7, 2019
So all the love for the diversity in the room, and white people keep winning. #GoldenGlobes— Beth Welty (@BethWelty3) January 7, 2019
The inclusion of minorities among this year’s Golden Globes nominees and winners still marks a step in the right direction. Oh acknowledged it best when she said, “I see you, all these faces of change. And now, so will everyone else.”
Trixie Reyna-Benedicto is a lifestyle editor and writer based in the Philippines. Previously, she helmed Cosmopolitan Philippines’ website, Cosmo.ph, as its founding editor. She later served as editor-in-chief of lifestyle and entertainment portals for Manila-based media company TV5. Her work has appeared in several print and online publications in her country, and she contributes to Speed Magazine, DG Traveler, and Connected Women, among others. Visit her website, trixiereyna.com.