The Golden Globes 2021 nominees were announced today in Los Angeles and there were a multitude of LGBTQ actors, films, television and other nominees announced. Two LGBTQ-inclusive films, The Life Ahead and Two Of Us, were nominated for Best Picture.
The Golden Globes 2021 nominees were announced today in Los Angeles and there were a multitude of LGBTQ actors, characters, films, television and other nominees announced. Two LGBTQ-inclusive films, The Life Ahead and Two Of Us, were nominated for Best Picture.
In truth, it’s somewhat difficult to single out which of this year’s slate count as nods to LGBTQ inclusion. Thanks to ongoing pressure from advocacy groups like GLAAD and growing public demand via social media and other platforms, there’s a growing queer presence in the content produced by the Hollywood machine; LGBTQ characters and/or creative talent are part of the mix in multiple titles throughout the list. In just the four Best Picture categories alone, Promising Young Woman, Music, The Prom, Onward, and the aforementionedThe Life Ahead and Two of Us can be considered queer or queer-adjacent. When you consider all the other categories as well, keeping track of the LGBTQ connections becomes a challenge.
That, of course, is nothing to complain about. It’s a sign that decades of media invisibility for non hetero-and-cis-normative people and their experiences are at long last giving way to an era of increased visibility.
Still, there is at least one eyebrow-raiser.
A disquieting note comes from the nomination of James Corden as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Motion Picture, for his role as a gay Broadway actor in Ryan Murphy’s movie adaptation of The Prom. Corden identifies as straight, and despite his status as a long-standing and supportive ally, his performance in the film has been criticized by many observers as leaning heavily into the realm of stereotype and caricature. Add to this the continuing discussion around straight actors playing non-straight roles, and the nomination – already a surprise, at least in part because of the notable snub of Corden’s co-star Meryl Streep in the Best Actress category – has stirred controversy, as well.
Corden is not the only nominee, however, who is being honored for “playing gay.” Rosamund Pike, who is straight, earned her Best Actress in a Drama nod for playing a lesbian con artist; in addition, performers Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holliday), both nominated for playing real-life musical icons in films that address their bisexuality, and Jodie Comer, nominated once more for her acclaimed work as a lesbian assassin in the Hulu series Killing Eve, have never publicly identified as anything other than straight. These nominations have not met with the same level of vocal criticism levied at Corden’s nod. Pike, Davis and Day will all face off against each other in their category.
Dwelling on the problematic, as tempting as it is, overshadows the considerable triumph represented by the impressive score of Schitt’s Creek. The beloved Canadian sitcom has already made history by sweeping all its eligible acting categories at last year’s Emmy Awards for its final season. It is now positioned for a possible repetition of that feat, with series stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Dan Levy, and Annie Murphy in the running in the Television Comedy division for Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Levy, playing a pansexual-identified character who becomes half of arguably one of television’s all-time favorite same-sex couples to date, is gay in real life. The show is also up for Best Comedy or Musical Television Series.
As for the rest of the lineup, here’s a breakdown of the other most notable LGBTQ-relevant nominees:
The Best Television Series Drama category includes two shows featuring LGBTQ storylines and characters, Netflix’s Ratched and HBO Max’s Lovecraft Country.
Out actress Sarah Paulson joins previous winner Comer in the running for Television Drama Best Actress, nominated for the title role in Ratched. The series also picked up a nod for out actress Cynthia Nixon in the Supporting Actress category.
Out actor Jim Parsons was tapped as a contender for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Netflix’s Hollywood. Though the show is a drama, he will be competing directly against Levy for the win, since the Golden Globes lump supporting performances together in a single category rather than differentiating between drama and comedy, as they do for the leading players.
In the Best Comedy Series category, The Flight Attendant, a popular HBO Max show featuring two gay men among its cast of major characters, picked up a nomination.
On the Film side, while the nominees for Best Picture (Drama) don’t include any notable LGBTQ storylines or characters, one of them, Promising Young Woman, does feature transgender actress Laverne Cox in a significant supporting role. The Prom received a nod in the Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) race; in addition to Corden’s role, the film features a number of other queer characters, as well as multiple out performers, and its story centers on the efforts of a lesbian teenager to force her high school to allow her to take her girlfriend to the senior prom. In the same category, Music, written and directed by out bisexual singer/songwriter Sia, also received a nomination. The inclusion of both films in that race were something of a surprise – especially the latter, given that Sia’s acclaimed cinematic debut is still mostly unseen by all but a few industry insiders.
Up for Best Animated Picture is Disney/Pixar’s Onward, which won praise for its casual inclusion of an openly-identified gay character – voiced by out actress Lena Waithe – in a minor role.
As mentioned above, the Best Foreign Language Film category includes The Life Ahead, an Italian drama starring cinema icon Sophia Loren which also features a transgender leading character, played by trans actress Abril Zamora. It will compete with France’s Two of Us, a drama about longtime lesbian lovers who face separation due to a health crisis.
In the Best Supporting Actress Category (again, as with television, the Globes combine both dramatic and comedic films for supporting roles), out actress Jodie Foster is up for the prize for her work in The Mauritanian.
Also of note: out producer/director Ryan Murphy, whose body of work has established himself as one of the de facto leaders in the effort to claim space for LGBTQ people and narratives in mainstream entertainment culture, has an impressive three projects represented in this year’s nominations: Ratched, Hollywood, and The Prom. His film of The Boys in the Band, however, is one of many worthy films and shows to be snubbed this year – a particularly egregious omission in light of the presence of titles like The Undoing, Emily in Paris, and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm among the honorees, all of which received mixed critical and audience reception, at best. If we’re being fair, the same could be said of Murphy’s three nominated shows and films, though each found popularity with enthusiastic fans.
Lastly, the recipients of this year’s two honorary awards are each notable for their LGBTQ connections. Screen legend Jane Fonda, who will be honored with the Cecil B. deMille Award, is one of the stars of Netflix’s extremely LGBTQ-friendly Grace and Frankie, while Carol Burnett Award-winner Norman Lear has been lauded for his many groundbreaking contributions toward inclusion in the classic sitcoms he has created and developed in a career that spans over 70 years.
Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air live coast to coast on Sunday, Feb. 28 from 8-11 p.m. ET/5-8 p.m. PT on NBC. Poehler will host the awards show from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, where the Golden Globes are typically held, while Fey will be set up in The Rainbow Room, which is inside NBC’s corporate headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Jane Fonda will receive this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award and Norman Lear will be awarded the Carol Burnett Award.
The complete list of nominees is below.
Best Picture Drama
Best Picture – Musical/Comedy
Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Best Actress – Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
Best Actor – Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Best Director Motion Picture
Best Screenplay Motion Picture
Best Picture – Animated
Best Picture – Foreign Language
Best Score Motion Picture
Best Drama Series
Best Musical/Comedy Series
Best Television Motion Picture
Best Actress – Television Motion Picture
Best Actor – Television Motion Picture
Best Television Actress – Drama Series
Best Television Actor – Drama Series
Best Television Actress – Musical/Comedy Series
Best Television Actor – Musical/Comedy Series
Best Supporting Actress – Television
Best Supporting Actor – Television
Cecil B. deMille Award
2021 Winner: Jane Fonda
Carol Burnett Award
2021 Winner: Norman Lear