The Crown’s Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin led a night of triumph for British stars at the Golden Globes, which took place amid controversy over a lack of diversity among the awards show’s voters.
Netflix’s Charles and Diana were the toast of the largely virtual ceremony and won TV drama best actor and actress for their explosive portrayal of a royal marriage in crisis.
Corrin thanked her “prince charming” while O’Connor told her “I love you to bits.”
The lavishly produced, headline-making The Crown was named best small screen drama while its American star Gillian Anderson won best supporting actress for playing Margaret Thatcher.
Other British winners included Daniel Kaluuya for Judas And The Black Messiah, John Boyega for Small Axe, Rosamund Pike for I Care A Lot, Anya Taylor-Joy for The Queen’s Gambit and Sacha Baron Cohen, a double winner for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, which was named comedy film of the year.
Also on the big screen, Nomadland won best drama. On a night when diversity was a hot topic due to the make up of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), black talent shone.
Chadwick Boseman’s widow delivered a tear-jerking acceptance speech on his behalf after he won best actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Andra Day was named best actress for The United States Vs. Billie Holiday.
The ceremony was starkly different to those of previous years, with no red carpet and nominees appearing from around the world.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted for a fourth time but in another pandemic-enforced break from convention did so from separate coasts, presenting from New York and Los Angeles.
The audiences were populated by essential workers rather than the usual small army of A-listers. Introducing the show, Fey and Poehler addressed the lack of diversity among the HFPA, the body which votes to decide Golden Globe winners.
It emerged none of its 87 members is black. Fey said that while “we all know that awards shows are stupid”, even “with stupid things inclusivity is important”.
She added: “You gotta change that. So here’s to changing it.”
The HFPA was quickly handed a reprieve of sorts when the night’s first two awards went to black British stars in Kaluuya and Boyega.
Kaluuya fell victim to technical issues and producers of the telecast had to return to him after his first acceptance speech was broadcast without sound.
“You’re doing me dirty,” Kaluuya said when he eventually returned.
Corrin appeared visibly shocked as her name was called to confirm she had won ahead of co-star Olivia Colman’s turn as the Queen and Jodie Comer’s performance in Killing Eve.
She referred to O’Connor as “my prince charming” and added: “Thank you so much to Diana, you have taught me compassion and empathy beyond anything I could ever imagine.”
Boseman, who died last year aged 43 following a battle with cancer, was posthumously honoured for his portrayal of an ambitious trumpeter in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
His wife, Simone, accepted the award for best actor on his behalf. Fighting back tears, she said: “He would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices.”
On behalf of her husband, she thanked Boseman’s team and his Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom co-stars.
She said: “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you ‘you can’, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you were meant to be doing at this moment in history.”
After naming Boseman’s co-stars in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Simone added: “And I don’t have his words but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love. So thank you HFPA, for this opportunity to do exactly that, and hon, you keep ’em coming.”
The ceremony struck a lighter note though Baron Cohen’s acceptance speeches.
Accepting his award for Borat, star Baron Cohen said: “Thank you to the all-white Hollywood foreign press.”
He praised the crew of the film for putting themselves in danger while shooting undercover amid the pandemic.
He said: “They did that because we all believed so deeply in releasing this movie before the election to show the danger from lies, hate and conspiracies, and the power of truth, empathy and democracy”
He also thanked his wife, Isla Fisher, who was seated next to him.
American-born Argentinian-British actress Taylor-Joy won best performance by an actress in a limited series for Netflix’s chess drama The Queen’s Gambit, while the show was named best limited series.
Boyega was recognised for his performance of a policeman fighting institutional racism in Small Axe, winning best actor in a TV supporting role.
Jodie Foster won best supporting actress in a motion picture for The Mauritanian.
Best foreign language film was won by Minari, the poignant portrayal of immigrant life in America, while Aaron Sorkin won best screenplay for a motion picture for The Trial Of The Chicago 7.
Chloe Zhao was also named best director in a category which also included Briton Emerald Fennell.
Zhao, who directed Nomadland starring Frances McDormand, is the first Asian woman and only the second woman ever to win the best director prize at the Golden Globes.
There was also joy for Canadian comedy Schitt’s Creek, as it was named best television series, music or comedy, while star Catherine O’Hara won best actress in a music or comedy TV series.
Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a musical or comedy TV series for Ted Lasso, Aaron Sorkin won best screenplay prize for The Trial Of The Chicago 7, and Pixar movie Soul was named best animated film.
The night’s honorary prizes went to veteran actress and activist Jane Fonda, who received the Cecil B DeMille Award, and Norman Lear, who claimed the Carol Burnett Award.