Aziz Ansari made history at the Golden Globe Awards last night. He won the Best Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical for his lead role in “Master of None.” Ansari is the first South Asian to ever win in this category. It only took 75 years.
He won for playing Dev Shah on the Netflix original, a show that he also writes for and produces. In his victory speech, Ansari looked seemingly shocked, saying that he didn’t think he would win, much like several entertainment websites wrongfully predicted. It was heart-warming to see his very real, flustered yet poised self on the stage as he accepted the trophy.
Ansari’s win is beyond well-deserved. Through his show, Ansari has brought South Asian-American stories to the forefront of mainstream American media. The first season tackled issues like second generation immigrants and their dual identities, South Asian representation on TV, feminism, and more. The second season, which dropped in May 2017, was also a work of art. It focused on Dev and his dating life as he falls in love with an Italian woman.
The second season episode “Thanksgiving” won an Emmy in 2017. Lena Waithe, who plays Denise on the show, wrote the episode about her character’s journey as an LGBT woman of color who comes out to her mother. In another episode titled “New York, I Love You,” the emphasis isn’t on any regular characters but instead, it’s about everyday characters like a taxi driver and a door man. “Master of None” gives voice to several marginalized communities, as well. It was nominated for Best TV Series - Comedy or Musical but lost to “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Hollywood award shows, especially in the last few years, have come under serious spotlight when it comes to honoring worthy and diverse nominees. #OscarsSoWhite isn’t just a trend, it’s an important conversation starter. The Golden Globes achieved somewhat mixed results in this case.
“This Is Us” actor Sterling K. Brown won the award for Best Actor in a Television Series - Drama. He is the very first African-American actor to win in this prime category. In his emotionally charged speech, he thanked the show’s creator Dan Fogelman for “writing a role for a black man that can only be played by a black man, what I appreciate so much about this is that I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am, and it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.”
This stands true for “Master of None” and show co-creators Ansari and Alan Yang. They took up the mantle to give us hilarious, relatable, poignant stories of Asian-Americans and carved a place for themselves in the industry.
Oprah Winfrey, better known as queen of the universe, was the recipient of the prestigious Cecil B. de Mille Award. Her speech, met with a roaring applause, is what many are referring to her own State of the Union address and rightly so. Winfrey’s work as an activist, entrepreneur, actor, host, and so much more was rightly honored.
2017 has been a year of reckoning in Hollywood. Women aren’t holding back after all the revelations and allegations against powerful men and at the Golden Globes, too, they reigned supreme. Several actresses brought activists as their date to the Globes. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements took front stage. On the television side, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”), Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale), Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) used their platform to shine a light on women empowerment and the power of speaking up, which is what their shows talk about as well.
Natalie Portman stole the show as she took a dig at the all-male nominees in the Best Director - Motion Picture category.
This was an important statement because Greta Gerwig, who directed “Lady Bird” wasn’t nominated. However, the film won Best Picture - Musical or Comedy as did the lead actress Saoirse Ronan.
Let this sink in:
Greta Gerwig directed her lead actor to a Golden Globe win
Greta Gerwig directed the film that won best picture
Greta Gerwig was not dominated for best director - all men were. #TIMESUP #GoldenGlobes #LadyBird
— Andrea Chalupa (@AndreaChalupa) January 8, 2018
Another reason the Globes were called out is for shutting out the highly successful summer blockbuster “Girls Trip,” black female comedy starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, and Regina Hall. Comparisons were made to how the Globes not only nominated, but awarded similar raucous comedies like “Bridesmaids” and the male buddy comedy “The Hangover.”
The @goldenglobes have proven, again, that #OscarsSoWhite is still incredibly relevant. Let me give you a specific example: @girlstripmovie. It was completely shut out of the noms & awards. #GoldenGlobes
— April (@ReignOfApril) January 8, 2018
Jordan Peele’s “Get Out,” a horror-satire about racism in the post-Obama era won zilch despite commercial and critical acclaim while the less well-received “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” snuck in several surprise victories.
In the end, the Golden Globe Awards 2018 will be remembered for making some groundbreaking choices. It will be remembered for the fierce ladies of Hollywood taking a stand and telling the men that #TimesUp and stunning in their black ensembles.
Ansari’s victory will hopefully pave the way for many more South Asian-Americans to be able to tell fresh stories because besides him, there was a sore lack of desis at the Globes. We can’t wait for that to change in 2019.