SINGAPORE – This year’s Golden Globes took on the aura of a feel-good movie when artistes who had been overlooked or underappreciated walked away with prizes.
On Tuesday night in Los Angeles (Wednesday morning in Singapore), actors Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Jennifer Coolidge and Tyler James Williams were among the winners whose speeches touched on validation and acceptance.
The Telugu-language action movie RRR, by earning India’s first Golden Globe win, provided another uplifting moment. Its song, Naatu Naatu, written by M.M. Keeravani and sung by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, won Best Original Song, beating tunes performed by Lady Gaga and Rihanna.
It all kicked off with Vietnam-born actor Quan, 51, winning the first category of the night, Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, for his role in the hit action comedy Everything Everywhere All At Once. The former child actor, who first appeared as the boy sidekick Short Round in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984), saw doors shut in his face as he grew older.
“I started to wonder if that was it, if that was just luck. For so many years, I was afraid that I had nothing more to offer. Thankfully, 30 years later, two guys thought of me,” said a teary Quan, referring to Everything’s writer-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.
Later that evening, it was the turn of his castmate, Malaysian veteran Yeoh, to receive a prize, for Best Actress In A Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy.
It was her first Golden Globe nomination. Until that moment, the actress who established herself in Hong Kong gongfu cinema before taking her first Hollywood feature role in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) had been largely ignored by major awards committees.
Despite appearing in commercial and critical hits such as the Oscar-winning wuxia film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Yeoh’s status in Hollywood was similar to that of the stars of the South Korean black comedy Parasite (2019) – she was admired, but was considered too foreign for mainstream awards voters in the United States and Europe.
“Forty years,” she said in her speech, referring to the period between the release of her first film, the Hong Kong action comedy The Owl Vs Bombo (1984), and the present day.
“I remember when I first came to Hollywood, it was a dream. Then I got here,” she said, to laughter.
“I was told I was a minority. And then someone said to me, ‘You speak English?’ And I said, ‘Yes, the flight here was 13 hours, so I learnt.”
She was also fighting the Hollywood stigma against older actresses.
“I’m 60. You women understand this – as the number of years gets bigger, the opportunities get smaller,” she said.
The feel-good vibe carried on when American actress Coolidge, 61, won the award for Supporting Actress – Limited Anthology Series Or Television Film for her role in The White Lotus 2, beating favourites Niecy Nash (Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story) and castmate Aubrey Plaza.
It was a fitting reward for an actress best known for her scene-stealing turns in comedies American Pie (1999) and Best In Show (2000), as she also starred in a satire about awards shows, For Your Consideration (2006).
In 2021, she became a fan favourite in the first season of The White Lotus, which caused show creator Mike White to bring her back for the second season.
In an emotional acceptance speech on Wednesday, she said that without the support of five Hollywood insiders who for two decades kept her career alive with “little jobs”, she would have given up.
“These little jobs kept me going,” she said.
Like Quan, Williams was a child actor. The 30-year-old American broke out in his starring role in the sitcom Everybody Hates Chris (2005-2009). His career momentum slowed after the show ended. Then came the sitcom set in a school, Abbott Elementary (2021-present), in which he plays Gregory Eddie, a shy teacher.
In a surprise victory that spoke to the evening’s mood of artistes finally getting their due, he beat predicted winners such as veterans John Turturro (Severance) and Henry Winkler (Barry) in the Supporting Actor – TV Comedy Or Drama category.
In his speech, Williams dedicated his win to teachers like his character.
“This is a win for Gregory Eddie. And for his story and for stories like his,” he said.
List of winners at the 80th Golden Globes
Best Motion Picture – Drama: The Fabelmans
Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy: The Banshees Of Inisherin
Best Director – Motion Picture: Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Drama: Austin Butler, Elvis
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Drama: Cate Blanchett, Tar
Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Best Performance By An Actor In A Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy: Colin Farrell, The Banshees Of Inisherin
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In Any Motion Picture: Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In Any Motion Picture: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Martin McDonagh, The Banshees Of Inisherin
Best Original Score – Motion Picture: Justin Hurwitz, Babylon
Best Original Song – Motion Picture: Naatu Naatu, Kaala Bhairava, M.M. Keeravani, Rahul Sipligunj (RRR)
Best Motion Picture – Animated: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Best Motion Picture – Non-English Language: Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
Best Television Series – Drama: House Of The Dragon
Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Drama: Zendaya, Euphoria
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series – Drama: Kevin Costner, Yellowstone
Best Television Series – Musical Or Comedy: Abbott Elementary
Best Performance By An Actress In A Television Series – Musical Or Comedy: Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary
Best Performance By An Actor In A Television Series – Musical Or Comedy: Jeremy Allen White, The Bear
Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series Or Motion Picture Made For Television: The White Lotus 2
Best Performance By An Actress In A Limited Series, Anthology Series, Or A Motion Picture Made For Television: Amanda Seyfried, The Dropout
Best Performance By An Actor In A Limited Series, Anthology Series, Or A Motion Picture Made For Television: Evan Peters, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Limited Series, Anthology Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jennifer Coolidge, The White Lotus 2
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Limited Series, Anthology Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television: Paul Walter Hauser, Black Bird
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role In A Musical-Comedy Or Drama Television Series: Julia Garner, Ozark
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role In A Musical-Comedy Or Drama: Tyler James Williams, Abbott Elementary