Golden Globes 2020: A Night of Celebration, Surprises and Firsts

by Luca Celada January 5, 2020
Sam Mendes and cast and crew of 1917

Director Sam Mendes and the team of 1917 on stage at the International Ballroom.

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The 77th Golden Globes are in the books and once again the awards handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press were a memorable affair. From the standing ovation for Cecil B. deMille recipient Tom Hanks, and a reaction not quite in that ballpark for returning host Ricky Gervais. The other ovations were for Ellen DeGeneres, the second-ever recipient of our Carol Burnett Award for special merits in television, and the finish, in dramatic fashion, with the Best Drama award going to 1917 (Sam Mendes having previously won the Directors’ trophy in somewhat of an upset.)

In another Golden Globe hallmark, this was a night of firsts, choices that confirm the globes place as a trendsetting and taste setting affair. The tone was set early on when Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon announced Ramy Youssef as a winner of the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series. The 28-year-old actor is the creator of Ramy,  the groundbreaking Hulu comedy about a Muslim American millennial living in New Jersey with his Egyptian immigrant family. Bounding onstage to accept the award Youssef said “Allahu Akbar. I want to thank my God.”

Moments later it was director Bong Joon-Ho’s turn to collect his Globe for Best Foreign Language Film: Parasite, the richly deserved win is the first time the honor went to a South Korean film, representing one of the most vital film industries in the world today. Hildur Guðnadóttir followed him into the record books as the first woman to ever win a Globe for Best Score for her wrenching and epic work on The Joker.

Awkwafina became the first Asian-American woman to top the Best Actress in a Motion Picture category and to top it off, Bernie Taupin pointed out that the Golden Globe he won with Elton John for Best Original Song (“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman) was, incredibly, the first award the two men have shared in their storied decades-long career.

So, yes, these Globes broke more molds as well as confirming themselves as awards where the celebration of entertainment arts join with fun and personal expression. Stirring speeches were part of the ceremony with Michelle Williams making an impassioned plea for women to “vote in their own self-interest”. “Men have been doing so for years”, said the actress who accepted the Award for Best Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie (Fosse/Verdon). Patricia Arquette, who won the Supporting Actress Globe in the same category, decried the state of a world “on the brink of war” - referencing the current state of international political affairs and no doubt expressing what has been on the minds of many, in Hollywood and beyond.