The Golden Globes have always seemed like the most purposefully inclusive major award show of them all. It’s the one that handed Taraji P. Henson the Best Actress award she so rightfully deserved for her tour de force Empire performance in 2015, the same year the Emmys did not give her that praise. The year prior, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association saluted Gina Rodriguez — now a pop cultural lightning rod, then an up-and-coming television darling — for her heart-swelling work in the criminally underrated Jane the Virgin. Earlier this year, Sandra Oh took home the Best Actress in a Drama Series honour for anchoring Killing Eve’s unmissable first season. The Asian-Canadian actress also co-hosted the whole damn show with Andy Samberg.
Yes, every single television actress nomination for the 2020 Golden Globes went to a white woman. It's an unquestionably talented, formidable group of women — but does the HFPA expect us to believe white women are the only talented ladies on television this year?
Because all signs point to no.
In moments like this — that are oblivious as best, openly racist at worst — trolls may argue there simply weren’t any women of colour to nominate against the likes of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon. The two former Oscar winners were nominated for their roles in Big Little Lies. The latter Oscar winner was nominated for her role in The Morning Show. Reigning Best Actress Oscar winner Olivia Colman, whom the HFPA nominated for taking over the mantle of Queen Elizabeth in The Crown season 3.
To those people, I raise Regina King, a woman who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award; was nominated for one Golden Globe, and won another — all this year. King is also the woman currently leading HBO’s flagship high-concept drama, Watchmen. At a time when it’s impossible for a new show to break through the noise of Peak TV, King’s Watchmen has. It’s a success largely owed to King’s steely work as Angela Abar, an Oklahoma detective and viewers' rock through the superhero-ish drama’s many mind-bending, time-hopping twists. Without the unimpeachable strength of King, one of television’s most exciting series would crumble.
Since the Golden Globes arrive nearly a full year before the Emmys, the HFPA usually revels in handpicking the Hot New Show before the Emmys' Television Academy even has its say. That is why The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a Golden Globes juggernaut long before its eventual 2017 Emmys domination.
Now it seems especially damning to see King’s performance left out in the cold when her series, like Maisel, is a winter show and therefore should be at the top of voters’ minds. It’s a fact that becomes worse when you remember Maisel’s lead Rachel Brosnahan just scored her third Golden Globe nomination for her Amazon Prime dramedy, which debuted a mere three days prior to the nominations announcement. Regina King, on the other hand, has been turning in stellar work, week after week, since mid-October.
Although the Watchmen star makes the best case against this year’s #GoldenGlobesSoPainfullyWhite debacle, it’s not like she’s the only woman of colour who handed in the kind of performance that is pure Golden Globes bait. Another leading candidate is Euphoria phenom Zendaya, who falls into two categories the HFPA absolutely loves.
On one hand, Zendaya is an on-the-rise critical favourite like Best Actress winners Lena Dunham in 2011, Rodriguez in 2014, and Rachel Bloom in 2015. While all of those winners were in the comedy category, there have been a handful of young women in the drama race as well this decade. Most notably, there’s 23-year-old Katherine Langford, who was given the Best Actress nod in 2017 for playing the tragic role of Hannah Baker in young adult suicide drama 13 Reasons Why.
Euphoria season 1 broke Twitter — and ratings — in much the same way as 13 Reasons Why’s freshman year did. However, the HBO sensation accomplished that task with a teen girl, Zendaya's Rue Bennet, playing the actual protagonist of her narrative. Say whatever you want about 13 Reasons, but it unmistakably belongs to Clay Jensen and his portrayer Dylan Minnette.
Zendaya is also a movie star, something the HFPA is clearly obsessed with (see: the TV category nominations of Streep, Kidman, Witherspoon, Colman, Jennifer Aniston, and Helen Mirren). Zandaya is the female lead ofSpider-Man: Far From Home, one of the most beloved superhero films of the year. She will lead Dune, one of 2020's biggest blockbusters, next year. Giving Zendaya a nomination would be a smart way to celebrate the next wave of Hollywood royalty.
Instead, here we are with 20 lily-white nominees.
Beyond HBO’s rising goddesses, television is brimming with women who could have easily fit in among the 2020 nominees. There are the ladies of Emmy-favourite When They See Us, directed by living icon Ava DuVernay (the Netflix miniseries itself was also snubbed). There is This Is Us’ Susan Kelachi Watson, whom the HFPA woke up at the crack of dawn to announce the nominations in the first place. There are the women of One Day at a Time, a show so powerful it was resurrected by cable television following a Netflix cancellation. There are the femmes of Pose and the lovable young actresses of On My Block. There is Lucy Liu on CBS All Access’ Women Why Women Kill. There are the sketch geniuses of A Black Lady Sketch Show and Astronomy Club (the latter series debuted the same day as Maisel and is therefore eligible). There are the weirdos of Los Espookys.
All of those women gave us hand-crafted TV jewels this year. The least we could give them was a Golden Globe nomination.