The nominations for the Golden Globes were revealed in January, however this year is nothing to celebrate. Many immediately noticed the great disparity between white led shows and films to black led, with eyebrows raised at no nominations for television’s standout show of 2020 – I May Destroy You – while Emily In Paris strolled away with two nominations for best actress and best comedy/musical.
Every year the Golden Globe awards bring great movies and television to the frontline and The LA Times recently revealed that out of all 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) there are no black members. This has once again cast the same annual doubt over the authenticity and ethics of the association after the nominations were announced in January, including some worrying options.
Seeds of doubt have even began to spring in the minds of nominated writers with a few speaking out. ‘Emily In Paris’ starring Lily Collins as American influencer Emily who moves to Paris to work with a company doing business with her own back in Chicago. In this, Emily speaks French very poorly if at all, and the show has been branded as ‘trashy television.’ The show is nominated for two Golden Globes to the surprise of multiple of its writers, who have taken to social media to apologise to, in their eyes, much more deserving shows that should have been nominated – such as Michaela Coel’s ‘I May Destroy You.’
Coel’s drama is powerful television at its finest, through character Arabella who struggles to come to terms with her own sexual assault while also dealing with issues of race. In this drama, Coel invokes her own trauma to create this bold work of art regarding consent, healing and rape culture. The show has been hailed as a “watershed moment” and according to writer Akilah Green: “sent almost every writer I’ve talked to about it back to the lab.”
Yet, despite these thrilling praises being sung towards ‘I May Destroy You’ it still did not receive any nominations. This is truly telling of the HFPA, who hold no black members in their association and holds a very stark and blatant pill that they and similar associations cannot swallow: black men and women have to work tenfold to achieve what white people do.
This is only highlighted even more by tweets from Emily In Paris writers Alice Lowe and Deborah Copaken who shared their surprise at being nominated while I May Destroy You was snubbed from all 12 categories.
@alicelowe: “I May Destroy You was an absolute watershed moment. It was more than just telly really. I felt changed by that show. The other shows are good, no disrespect, but IMDY dwarfed them all. Revolutionised a genre. Maybe that’s too scary for some. True art often is. #GoldenGlobes.”
@dcopaken: “Dear @MichaelaCoel: I was a writer on Emily In Paris, but your show was my favourite show since the dawn of TV and this is just wrong. I loved I May Destroy You, and I thank you, personally, for giving us your heart, your mind, your resilience and your humour.”
When both shows were released, Emily In Paris drew a lot of backlash of the stereotypical French culture and lack of trying from Collins’s character to speak French – something a lot of foreign people could relate to. However, I May Destroy You drew songs of praise of its raw reality portrayed upon screen, the show acting as a way of healing for a lot of survivors. Another Golden Globe nominee ‘Music‘ by Sia also drew nothing but negativity for its inaccurate and dangerous representations of autism and dealing with autism yet was nominated also. Standout films such as Judas and the Black Messiah and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom were also entirely dismissed from the categories even though they were thought to be Oscar winners.
The news that made the nominations slightly less surprising was the recent revelation that the voters behind nominations were whisked away for their very own Parisian getaway, staying in the five star Peninsula Paris hotel and dined at top quality restaurants. The association has a rule stating that members may not accept gifts valued at over $125 to prevent such bribery and corruption from occuring – but it appears as though this is not the case.
So what is the root of these nonsense nominations? Is it inherently racism? Bribery? A refusal to award such brave and bold performances? Either way, we hope the BAFTAs and Oscars shall do better to recognise homegrown and fantastic talent when they see it.