The Golden Globes are Jan. 10, 2016. Get excited!
Why? Well, first of all, that means award show season is officially upon us. Secondly, alcoholic beverages are served during the ceremony (a rarity for televised award shows), which guarantees no shortage of interesting watercooler conversations the following day.
And thirdly, just look at this year’s nominees! You’ll see the Golden Globes really has its pulse on today’s issues more than ever before, as reflected by who’s getting recognized for what (although based on who wins, I may have to eat my words here). Here are five ways that’s evident this year.
1. People of color are actually well-represented in TV categories.
Thanks to series like “Empire,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” and “Orange Is the New Black,” performances by people of color are getting noticed — something that’s not always (read: almost never) been the case. Actors Aziz Ansari, Taraji P. Henson, Gina Rodriguez, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, and Uzo Aduba are among the many people of color being honored for their praise-worthy performances in 2015.
Nominees in the film categories, however, paint a slightly different (monochromatic) picture — one that, in many ways, mirrors the overwhelmingly white Oscar nods of 2015. And there’s certainly a need for improvement when it comes to diversity among this year’s presenters as well.
2. Thanks in part to “Concussion,” chatter around football’s traumatic brain injury problem is going mainstream.
“Concussion,” starring Will Smith (who is up for best actor in a drama for the role), tells the true story of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a forensic pathologist whose research suggested a link in brain injuries to playing football. His efforts to shed light on the issue were … let’s just say … not welcomed by the NFL.
The film, released on Christmas, got some important facts wrong about the real story (and then possibly took it easy on the NFL out of fear of ruffling feathers), so it faced its fair share of criticism. But it came on the heels of more recent research from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University that found a whopping 87 out of 91 deceased former NFL players examined by analysts tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease of the brain, The Atlantic reported. So it seems like Omalu was onto something important (and I’m glad Will Smith is helping move the discussion forward).
3. Feminist storylines are dominating this year’s categories.
Feminism: Yes, it may have been one the clickiest, trendiest buzzwords of 2015, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t push gender equality forward offline as well.
There are plenty of nominees to choose from in both TV and film categories that feature feminist characters and themes. “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Inside Out,” “Spy,” “Trainwreck,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Transparent,” and so many others — all empowering, thought-provoking, complex, depictions of women that, in ways both big and small, throw outdated gender norms out the window.
Also, can we take a moment and appreciate the amount of feminism squeezed into the Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy category this year? Lily Tomlin? Amy Schumer? Jennifer Lawrence? Yes, please.
4. And speaking of women killin’ it, take a look at the nods for best film.
One quick scan over the Golden Globes’ top film nods proves 2015 was a stellar year for leading ladies and the films they starred in.
Three of the five films up for Best Comedy or Musical feature women in lead roles (shout out to “Joy,” “Spy,” and “Trainwreck”) — an impressive feat considering that — yes, even in 2016 — we’re still arguing whether woman are as funny as men. And films featuring female leads aren’t just snagging nominations, by the way — they’re cleaning up at the box office, too.
What’s more, in the Best Drama category, female-led “Carol” and “Room” are nominated, along with “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which featured a helluva badass (and feminist) performance from Charlize Theron.
5. For the second year in a row, LGBTQ characters and their stories are sharing the spotlight in powerful ways.
This year’s awards will continue 2015’s groundbreaking year of content giving a voice to LGBTQ characters and their stories.
Movies like “Carol” (which tells the story of a lesbian love affair) and “The Danish Girl” (a biopic about Lili Elbe, one of the first-known recipients of gender confirmation surgery) are up for big nods. And in the TV realm, trailblazing series like “Transparent” and “Orange Is the New Black” continue being recognized for their thoughtful, eye-opening storytelling and characters.
Although some have criticized “Transparent” and “The Danish Girl” for casting cisgender actors in roles that should be reserved for trans folks (who face enough casting discrimination as is), it’s difficult to argue projects like these haven’t expanded visibility and promoted inclusion in big ways.
So there you go. If you didn’t have a reason to watch the Golden Globes 2016, now you have five.
From opening doors for marginalized communities to shining a light on public health concerns, the Golden Globes are proving themselves relevant in 2016. Bravo! (And, if for no other reason, you can always tune in to see if anyone goes overboard at the open bar.)