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The First 2019 Golden Globe Winner is Diversity

Mostly in the TV categories, but elsewhere, too.

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After announcing hosts Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg (easily the most charming part of the 2018 Emmy Awards), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association followed up this morning with the official nominations for the 2019 Golden Globes. Awarded by the 94 Los Angeles-based foreign entertainment and industry journalists that comprise the HFPA, the Golden Globes cover both film and television, and are considered the official kickoff of awards season. Because the awards include a wider array of categories than the Oscars or the Emmys, which honor solely film and television, respectively, the Globes generally has an opportunity to celebrate a more diverse range of work and and creatives, but it doesn't always deliver.

Sandra Oh & Andy Samberg presenting at the Emmys (Korean sub) youtu.be

The industry and the self-congratulatory circus that is Awards Season have been under scrutiny for some time, notably since 2015, when an all-white slate of acting nominees prompted criticism and the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite—and again the following year. Since then, both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees the Oscars, and the Recording Academy, which governs the Grammys, have announced initiatives to diversify member bases and amend voting rules to ensure that their constituencies are more reflective of a diverse industry. The TV landscape, however, has been ahead of the curve when it comes to its content mirroring both its audiences and its creators. The same year that #OscarsSoWhite was trending, TV was having its most diverse programming season in years.

The HFPA has a decent track record in terms of the cultural, sexual, disability, and gender diversity of its television nominees, and this year is no different. Nominees in the television acting categories for this year's awards boast 10 people of color, including first-time nominees Billy Porter (Pose) and Stephan James (Homecoming), and the inimitable Regina King (Seven Seconds), who also snagged a nomination on the film side for her performance in If Beale Street Could Talk. Porter's nomination, and that of Pose for Best Television Series — Drama, is especially monumental, marking the first nomination of a show that features a primarily trans cast.


Because the Globes take place in January, right in the middle of the television season, it has a jump on the Emmys in terms of recognizing the year's newest and buzziest output, which likely accounts for the ousting of previous favorites like The Handmaid's Tale, black-ish, and This is Us in favor of Homecoming, Killing Eve, Pose, Kidding, Barry, The Kominsky Method, and The Bodyguard—all freshmen series. This, as well as the award show's proclivity for diversity, is perhaps the Globes' greatest advantage, especially when comparing it to, say, the Television Academy's tendency to nominate the same series over and over again (looking at you, Modern Family).

While the film acting nominations aren't quite as diverse as their television equivalent, other categories speak volumes about the state of art, and its consumers, over the past year. Films with casts comprised primarily of people of color (Crazy Rich Asians, Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk), or that are focused on issues faced by people of color (Beale Street, Blackkklansman, Green Book) top the list. Best Song nominations were given to pop artists Troye Sivan, Lady Gaga, and Kendrick Lamar (who already has a Pulitzer).

Eighth Grade | Official Trailer HD | A24 youtu.be

Newcomers and first-time nominees like James, Constance Wu, John David Washington, and Kristen Bell effectively bring down the median age of what can feel like a stuffy event in a room full of septuagenarians; 15-year-old Elsie Fisher adds an acting nomination to the recognition she's already received from the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Gotham Awards.

Of course, it wouldn't be an awards show without recognizing some rich old white guy, and it doesn't get richer, older, or whiter than Best Film — Drama nominee Vice, the biopic about Dick Cheney. But, hey, diversity in an industry that's been capturing the world's attention for over 100 years doesn't happen overnight.