Awkwafina represents women-directed work at Golden Globes

The 77th Golden Globe Awards were held Jan. 5 in Los Angeles, featuring a dismally male-dominant slate of nominees from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. On the film side, no women screenwriters or directors were nominated. Only one of the 10 films nominated for Best Motion Picture is written by a woman: the category’s winner from co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917. Sam Mendes won Best Director for his work on the World War I quest. 

Joker composer Hildur Guðnadóttir is the first woman to win the Best Original Score category since 2000. Awkwafina won Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for her performance in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell. “Awkwafina’s leading performance is remarkable,” FF2 Media critics wrote in July. “With little dialogue, she evokes Billi’s turmoil primarily through her eyes and body language.” 

Awkwafina previously won the Independent Filmmaker Project Gotham Award for the role. She is the only winner of the night for work in a woman-directed film, though Saoirse Ronan (Little Women) and Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) were also nominated. Other winners included Laura Dern, Taron Egerton, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt and Renee Zellwegger. 

Though Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma) and The Farewell (Wang) were nominated for Best International Feature, Bong Joon Ho won for Parasite. Missing Link edged out women-helmed Toy Story 4 and Frozen II for Animated Feature – but the latter just became the highest-grossing animated film of all time. 

The television awards were at least somewhat gender-balanced, despite big wins for male-dominant HBO shows like Succession and Chernobyl. Fleabag dominated comedy categories, from writer and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who penned the upcoming Bond sequel No Time to Die. Michelle Williams gave a rousing speech about women and the right to choose when accepting her award for Fosse/Verdon

Cecil B. Demille Award recipient Tom Hanks lauded female filmmakers in his acceptance speech, including A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood director Marielle Heller, Nora Ephron and Penny Marshall (Big made her the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million at the box office). Kate McKinnon also presented Ellen DeGeneres with the Carol Burnett Award for Lifetime Achievement in Television. 

While previous ceremonies made mention of Time’s Up and the lack of female filmmakers recognized by the HFPA, this Golden Globes was relatively quiet on the subject of gender parity aside from a joke from host Ricky Gervais. The HFPA has only nominated five women in its 77-year history for Best Director – and none since Ava DuVernay (Selma) in 2015. A woman has not won Best Screenplay since Diana Ossana co-wrote Brokeback Mountain in 2005. Only two women have been nominated for solo screenwriting in the last 10 years – Nancy Myers (It’s Complicated) and Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl). 

Directors Alma Har’el (Honey Boy) and Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim) spoke out in December about the HFPA’s bias against their films. “We held three screenings for the HFPA and almost no members attended,” Matsoukas told Variety. “For me, it’s reflective of their voting body. It’s not reflective of the society in which we live in or the industry as it stands today. They don’t value the stories that represent all of us, and those stories are so often disregarded and discredited, as are their filmmakers.”

Full list of Golden Globe winners:

© Georgiana E. Presecky (1/6/20) FF2 Media

77th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS — Pictured: Sam Mendes accepts the award for Best Motion Picture, Drama at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 — (Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBC)

Photos: For her performance in The Farewell, Awkwafina became the first Asian woman to win her category at the Golden Globes; screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns pictured with the team behind Best Motion Picture (Drama), 1917.  

Photos Courtesy of Paul Drinkwater (NBC) and Kevin Winter (Getty Images). 

Tags: Awkwafina, Golden Globes, The Farewell

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