Nominating 3 Women Directors Isn’t Changing The Golden Globes

On Wednesday, the nominations for the 2021 Golden Globes were announced. Almost every article (correctly) celebrated that there was more than one female director nominated for the first time in history. In fact, three women directors Regina King, Chloe Zhao, and Emerald Fennell got Golden Globes nods. However, looking beyond that category, not much has changed.

Latinx folks received four nominations – one for Lin Manuel Miranda in Hamilton, two for Anya Taylor-Joy (for her roles in Emma and Queen’s Gambit), and one for Director Jayro Bustamante for his Guatemalan foreign film La Llorona. While we are excited to see these three nominated, we can’t ignore that the two Latinx people nominated for their work in front of the camera are white or white-passing.

We cannot and should not celebrate “inclusion” when these choices reinforce anti-Blackness in Latinx culture and representation. From Tessa Thompson in Sylvie’s Love to Ruben Santiago-Hudson the writer for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, these are two AfroLatinx performances that should have been awarded this year. Luckily there are also some amazing Black artists nominated this year. Whether it’s Viola Davis, Andra Day, or Regina King’s directing nomination for One Night in Miami, we’re excited to see their incredible work elevated. 

However, we have to take a moment to recognize one major omission from this list: Michaela Coel and I May Destroy You. This TV series was everything that the majority of its fellow TV dramas nominated were not. It wasn’t simply your average HBO Drama – it single-handedly reinvented the way and style with which we address trauma and sexual assault. Beautiful everywhere from the cinematography to the script, the show took television to another level in a way only a creator like Michaela Coel could. The other nominees in the category, The Crown, Ratched, Ozark, all center and star white characters and worlds that are not only familiar narratives but repetitive ones.

Don’t get me wrong I love a stoic Olivia Colman but was her performance this year as innovative as Michaela Coel? Not even close. Ratched by Ryan Murphy centered one of my personal favorites Sarah Paulson, but it didn’t exactly redefine the horror genre. And Ozark, while its third season continues to feature incredibly talented Laura Linney, did nothing to impress me – it’s just another crime show with the stereotypical “Mexican drug lord” threatening yet another white family. Innovation is definitely not the word. 

Meanwhile, James Corden was nominated for his role in Prom, whose performance was offensive, problematic, and perfectly illustrated by his line “I’m as a gay as a bucket of wigs.” Emily in Paris received two nominations for a series that can only be described as peek white girl: post-college, study abroad with the family credit card escapist fantasy. I’m talking zero substance. And the most compelling television I’ve possibly ever seen, I May Destroy You received no nominations. The Golden Globes continue to prove throughout the years that Black innovation and talent rarely is allowed to compete with classic white standard narratives.

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