Golden Globes: Milestone wins for film-makers of Asian heritage

Chloe Zhao became the second woman in the Globe's 78-year history to win the Best Director award. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Films led by Asian talent made a strong showing at the Golden Globes on March 1 (Feb 28 night in the United States) when the drama Nomadland, directed by Chinese film-maker Chloe Zhao, and the immigrant story Minari, written and directed by Korean-American Lee Isaac Chung, won major awards.

Nomadland won Best Picture, Best Drama and Best Director for Zhao, while Minari won Best Foreign Language Film.

Zhao, 38, in winning the Best Director Golden Globe, became the second woman in the Globe's 78-year history to win that award. Barbra Streisand had won for the romantic drama Yentl in 1983.

Born and raised in Beijing, she moved to the United Kingdom and the US to attend school while in her teens. After directing a string of critically acclaimed festival films, she has moved on to blockbusters, having helmed the Marvel superhero movie Eternals, to be released later this year.

Nomadland will be released in cinemas in Singapore on March 18. Minari will open on March 11.

The Golden Globes voting panel was called tone-deaf for placing Minari, a work produced in and with a story set in America, from an American film-maker, in the Best Foreign Language Picture category. It was denied a spot in the Best Picture race because more than 50 per cent of its dialogue is in Korean.

The film stars Steven Yeun and Han Ye-ri as a Korean couple who, with two children in tow, move to a small town in Arkansas to start a farm.

If Lee's film, based on his own experiences of growing up in an immigrant family, had been entered in the Best Picture category, it would have been up against Zhao's Nomadland, a film about a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who gives up her home to live with an itinerant community.

Zhao adapted the screenplay from a 2017 non-fiction book, Nomadland: Surviving America In The Twenty-First Century by journalist Jessica Bruder.

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Chinese-born Chloe Zhao took the best director prize for Nomadland, making Zhao only the second woman to win at the Globes in that category, and the first woman director of Asian descent to win.

Nomadland, with its two wins, came out on top on the film side, together with Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which won for Best Musical or Comedy and Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Sacha Baron Cohen.

The Netflix biographical drama series about British royalty, The Crown, was the show that won the most awards. Its fourth season, set in the Princess Diana years, took home four prizes, one for Best Drama and three acting prizes for Emma Corrin, Josh O'Connor and Gillian Anderson.

It was also a night when black acting talent came to the fore, with artistes such as the late Chadwick Boseman, Andra Day, John Boyega and Daniel Kaluuya winning in their categories.

While some of the wins were expected - the Nomadland and Minari wins were no surprise, for example - others came as a surprise.

Day's win for Best Actress (Motion Picture, Drama) for the title role in the biopic The United States Vs Billie Holiday (2021) came as an upset. British actress Cary Mulligan was tipped to win for playing the vengeance-seeking Cassie in the thriller Promising Young Woman (2020), which opens in cinemas here on March 18.

The Golden Globes have always been seen as the less sober, more trivial cousin of the Academy Awards, but its reputation for frivolity has not made it immune to criticism.

It received more than its usual amount of flak not having black voters on its 90-person panel, leading to nomination omissions for black-led works such as the critically acclaimed drama series I May Destroy You.

Film

Best Motion Picture- Drama: Nomadland

Best Director - Motion Picture: Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Motion Picture -Foreign Language: Minari

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: Aaron Sorkin (The Trial Of The Chicago 7)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Andra Day (The United States Vs Billie Holiday)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Rosamund Pike (I Care A Lot)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)

Best Motion Picture - Animated: Soul

Television

Best Television Series Drama: The Crown

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Schitt's Creek

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: The Queen's Gambit

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama: Josh O'Connor (The Crown)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama: Emma Corrin (The Crown)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Jason Sudekis (Ted Lasso)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Catherine O'Hara (Schitt's Creek)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much is True)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen's Gambit)

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