LACK OF DIVERSITY SNUBS 'I MAY DESTROY YOU' OF GOLDEN GLOBES NOMINATIONS

LACK OF DIVERSITY SNUBS 'I MAY DESTROY YOU' OF GOLDEN GLOBES NOMINATIONS

LACK OF DIVERSITY SNUBS 'I MAY DESTROY YOU' OF GOLDEN GLOBES NOMINATIONS

Systematic racism drives the Globes decision to prioritize white narratives.

Systematic racism drives the Globes decision to prioritize white narratives.

Text: Ayesha Le Breton

The 2021 Golden Globe nominations ring in another year of whitewashed ceremony.  Wednesday morning the Hollywood Foreign Press association announced the award show nominees in a livestream, setting in motion Twitter’s expected celebrations, and more fervent than ever ritual roasts. Coming out of a year that’s seen the Black Lives Matter movement grow into an international phenomenon, and a reckoning of all industries - particularly Hollywood - regarding representation, inclusion and equality; the snubs list reads rather concerning. 

Lack of diversity and just an odd assortment of mediocre nominations has representation right back to well, where it always seems to end up; an afterthought. The Best Picture categories saw no nominations that center people of color or underrepresented communities.

We do celebrate the three female directors — two of them women of color — nominated in the directing category. A few actors of color scored acting nominations, including Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,) Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) go head to head for best actress in drama, followed by Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey) for best actor in a drama. Dev Patel, is nominated for The Personal History of David Copperfield.

However, it was across all TV categories that only two Black actors were named (Don Cheadle for Black Monday and John Boyega for Small Axe,) and zero Black actresses were celebrated. The most unexpected, and telling curveball being the utter dismissal of Michaela’s Coel’s performance in I May Destroy You

Set in London, starring a predominantly Black British cast, the HBO drama centers Coel as Arabella a young woman unpacking the trauma of sexual assault through a lens of blistering dark humor and moments of deep discomfort. Not to mention Coel also wrote, co-directed, and executive produced the show. 

Predictions had the acclaimed show secured as a sure thing for the Best TV Movie or Limited Series category. It got zilch. So what happened? 

A scoop of white privilege with a little more than a sprinkle of systematic racism?

At the helm of the disrespect, stood the Emily in Paris nomination for Best Comedy–of all the shows to snatch the recognition…Ça ce fait pas ma chérie. Darren Star’s (who also brought you Sex and the City) latest endeavor was at best a fun and binge/cringe-worthy, but unequivocally not award-worthy. Leading – white – lady, Lily Collins is also up for best actress in a television musical or comedy. 

Even Deborah Copaken, a writer on the series, expressed disbelief and disappointment at Coel’s omission.

Stories We Tell director Sarah Polley discerned the problematic fact that the HFPA embraced the sexual assault of a white woman (Promising Young Woman) while ignoring that of a Black woman (I May Destroy You.) “It's a clear statement about which stories we are ready to hear and which ones we continue to ignore." 

Other Hollywood voices joined the outrage, Honey Boy film maker Alma Har’el said “Sometimes racism is the only explanation.” While actor Dylan O’Brien tweeted took to Twitter to denounce the award show. 

I May Destroy You was a masterpiece. Period. Yet again, unsurprised and equally disappointed one laments the patriarchal criteria at the foundation of these awards shows fueling "embarrassingly discriminatory practices."

Coel has yet to comment. 

Credits: Image courtesy of HBO.

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