Three female directors make history in nominations for Golden Globes 2021

Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Olivia Colman in The Crown
Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Olivia Colman in The Crown

Three women have been nominated for best director at the Golden Globe awards – the first time more than one has been shortlisted in a single year. Regina King, Chloe Zhao and Emerald Fennell are up for the prize, which had only previously nominated five women in the Golden Globes’ 77-year history.

Mank leads the overall film awards race with six nominations, while The Crown leads the TV categories, also with six. Sacha Baron Cohen and Olivia Colman are among the Britons up for acting awards, the nominations belatedly fired the starting gun for this year’s Hollywood awards season, which has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aaron Sorkin’s film drama The Trial of the Chicago 7 and TV comedy Schitt’s Creek also performed well, with five nominations each. Baron Cohen, Colman and Anya Taylor-Joy all scooped two acting nominations each, Baron Cohen said he felt “overwhelmed and humbled” to be recognised for the films Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

“These two films are different, but they share a common theme,” he wrote on twitter. “Sometimes we have to protest injustice with our own farce.” He went on to joke that he had already hired Rudy Giuliani, former President Trump’s lawyer, to contest the results. The star also has a third nomination, as a producer of the Borat sequel. Taylor-Joy, meanwhile, was shortlisted for Netflix’s chess drama The Queen’s Gambit and for the Jane Austen film adaptation Emma. Colman, who won best actress in a TV drama for playing the Queen in Netflix’s The Crown last year, could repeat that this year, and is also shortlisted for her forthcoming film The Father. Four of Colman’s The Crown co-stars were also nominated – Emma Corrin (Princess Diana), Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher) and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret).

Bookmakers have made the show’s fourth season the favourite to win best TV drama ahead of Lovecraft Country, The Mandalorian, Ozark and Ratched. That’s all despite a row over how the show portrays the royal family.

Emma Corrin and Josh O'Connor in The Crown
Emma Corrin and Josh O’Connor play Diana and Charles in The Crown’s fourth season

Series creator Peter Morgan said everyone involved in the Netflix series was “thrilled to be recognised in this way”. “This season really seems to have resonated with audiences of all generations all around the world,” he said. “We could not be more grateful or more proud.” Emerald Fennell will be familiar to The Crown viewers for playing Camilla Parker-Bowles. The Brit wasn’t nominated for her acting – but was nominated for Promising Young Woman, her first feature film as director. She also wrote the dark comic thriller, and was previously chief writer on the second series of Killing Eve.

Regina King directing Eli Goree as Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in One Night In Miami
Regina King directing Eli Goree as Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in One Night In Miami

Film and TV fans will also know Regina King, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for acting in 2018’s If Beale Street Could Talk, and has now moved behind the camera with One Night in Miami. And Chinese director Chloe Zhao has become the first woman of Asian descent to be up for the Golden Globes’ best director prize, for Nomadland. The last female director to be nominated for best director was Ava DuVernay for Selma in 2014, and the only woman ever to have won is Barbra Streisand for Yentl in 1984. Nomadland and Promising Young Woman are also nominated for best film drama alongside Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and The Father.

Top films

  • Mank – 6 nominations
  • The Trial of the Chicago 7 – 5
  • The Father – 4
  • Nomadland – 4
  • Promising Young Woman – 4

The Globes split most awards between dramas and musicals/comedies, and the nominees for best musical/comedy film include Music, the directorial debut of pop star Sia. But her film has attracted controversy for its casting of dancer Maddie Ziegler as a young girl on the autism spectrum. Actress Ruth Madeley, who has spina bifida, expressed solidarity with “every #ActuallyAutistic person who is rightly devastated to see #Sia”s Music nominated”. “Disabled people are needed in the industry now more than ever to help change the narrative we’re all so sick of,” she wrote on twitter.

Meryl Streep and James Corden in The Prom
James Corden was nominated for The Prom, but Meryl Streep – who had been hotly tipped – missed out

Music is up against the Borat sequel, the Disney+ recording of Broadway hit Hamilton, time loop comedy Palm Springs and Netflix film The Prom.

James Corden was a surprise nominee for best actor in a musical or comedy for The Prom, after he was criticised for taking on a character who is, by his own admission, “as a gay as a bucket of wigs”.

Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman with Noma Dumezweni in The Undoing
Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman are both nominated for The Undoing

British stars Riz Ahmed, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Gary Oldman will compete for best actor in a film drama for Sound of Metal, The Father and Mank. They are joined by the late Chadwick Boseman, recognised posthumously for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim, nominated for The Mauritanian. Vanessa Kirby and Carey Mulligan are both in the running for best actress in a film drama for Pieces of a Woman and Promising Young Woman respectively, other British stars on the shortlists include John Boyega, Rosamund Pike, Dev Patel, Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Comer, Matthew Rhys and Nicholas Hoult.

Hugh Grant was nominated for best actor in a TV limited series for The Undoing, the same award he won in 2019 for A Very English Scandal. His co-star Nicole Kidman is up against Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones for the female equivalent. Lily Collins was nominated for Netflix hit Emily In Paris – but there was no space for Michaela Coel or her acclaimed BBC drama I May Destroy You.

Top TV shows

  • The Crown – 6 nominations
  • Schitt’s Creek – 5
  • Ozark – 4
  • The Undoing – 4
  • The Great – 3
  • Ratched – 3
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor in Bridgerton
Regé-Jean Page and Phoebe Dynevor missed out on nominations for Bridgerton

With the cinema shutdown and delays to many films, streaming has gained the upper hand over the past year. As a result, Netflix leads the Golden Globes field with 22 out of the 70 film nominations and 20 out of 54 film nominations – giving the streaming giant one third of all nominations in total. Yet there was no room for its period drama Bridgerton, despite the show becoming the service’s “biggest series ever”. Presented annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the Golden Globes are the most prestigious movie awards behind the Oscars. This year’s winners will be announced at the end of this month in a bi-coastal ceremony hosted by Tina Fey in New York and Amy Poehler in Los Angeles.

In a normal year, many of the nominees would be expected to be among the Academy Award nominations, but this is not a normal year. The Oscars will take place two months later than normal, having been put back from the date – 28 February – that the Globes ceremony now occupies. The eligibility period for this year’s Oscars has been extended by two months, meaning films released in cinemas or online before the end of February could be in contention. This may not end up making much of a difference, although it could mean that the Globes’ traditional role as an awards season indicator may not be as reliable as it sometimes has been.

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