From the sardonic host to the all male directors, here's your guide to the 2020 Golden Globes

From a cutting comedian as host to the significance of the awards show to the #MeToo movement, the Golden Globes are bound to deliver moments of candour and some unexpected wins.

Harriet filmmaker on lack of female directing nominees: 'You realize there’s no excuse for it'

Cutting comedian Ricky Gervais will host the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, which has been criticized for its lack of female director nominees. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

From a cutting comedian as host to the significance of the awards show to the #MeToo movement, the Golden Globes are bound to deliver moments of candour and some unexpected wins.

Ricky Gervais will return as host of the first major Hollywood awards show of the season for the fifth time. He's known for sardonically targeting A-listers and doesn't shy away from one-liners that can make the audience cringe.

While stars hope to avoid his spotlight, Netflix is stepping into its own.

The streaming giant is dominating the coveted top category of best picture drama for the first time. Three of the five nominees (The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes) were released by the company. The other contenders in the category — the sweeping First World War drama 1917 and the controversial psychological thriller Joker are also among the nominees for best director. It's a category facing its own controversy.

Women shut out behind camera

While streaming giants are moving in on the major categories, not everyone has been welcomed into the fold. 

Women were shut out of the best director category at this year's Globes. None of the 10 films nominated in the best picture categories (drama and comedy/musical) were directed by women either.

"You realize there's no excuse for it whatsoever," Kasi Lemmons, who directed the acclaimed film Harriet about American abolitionist and activist Harriet Tubman, told CBC News at the Palm Springs International Film Festival earlier this week"It's just kind of a lack of education and kind of a bias, whether intentional or unintentional.

"Just because it might be unintentional, doesn't excuse it."

Harriet director Kasi Lemmons, left, pictured here alongside Debra Martin Chase and Cynthia Erivo said 'there's no excuse' for women filmmakers to be shut out of major awards like the Globes. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is behind the Globes, told CBC News its voters based their decisions on what they believed to be the best movies, regardless of gender.

Since 2008, two women have been nominated for best director at the Golden Globes: Ava DuVernay (Selma) and Katheryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty). The only woman to ever win was Barbra Streisand in 1984, for Yentl.

Academy Award winner Natalie Portman famously called attention to the issue on stage as a presenter in 2017, when she went off script and made note of the "all-male nominees" in the category.

From left: Lulu Wang, director of The Farewell, Greta Gerwig, director of Little Women, Lorene Scafaria, director of Hustlers, and Melina Matsoukas, director of Queen & Slim were among those with notable films in 2019 who were shut out of the best director category. (Getty Images)

Evolving 'in right direction'

At the same time, change is happening in Hollywood.

More than 10 per cent of the directors on Hollywood's top 100 grossing films in 2019 were women, according to new research from the University of Southern California's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. That's double the number from the year before. Among the films were Little WomenHarriet and the stripper crime drama Hustlers.

"There's so many great films by women this year: Little Women, The Farewell, Queen and Slim," said Lorene Scafaria, who directed Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu in Hustlers. "There's just been incredible work. So I hope that they continue to get recognized as the years go on."

Renée Zellweger, a best actress frontrunner for her role as Judy Garland in Judy, said progress is the result of many trailblazers like the one she portrayed, and takes time.

"I think it's going to continue to evolve in the right direction," said Zellweger. "It just takes a minute sometimes, doesn't it."

2 years after #MeToo explodes, Weinstein goes to trial

While there are still more glass ceilings to shatter for women filmmakers, strength in numbers has proven successful in other respects.

When dozens of women went public with sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, it sparked the #MeToo movement which took a significant step in solidarity at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

Being the first televised Hollywood awards show since the news surfaced, most celebrities opted to wear black in 2018 to support survivors of sexual harassment and assault. Many actors brought activists as their guests to promote the need for change in Hollywood and beyond.

Renée Zellweger, who is drawing Oscar buzz for her role in Judy, told CBC News at the Palm Springs Film Festival that progress for women is apparent, but takes time. (Submited by Calgary International Film Festival)

At the same time, the non-profit organization Time's Up was also created to counter workplace harassment.

More than two years later, that movement takes another important step this week: Jury selection for Weinstein's trial — in which he faces charges of rape and sexual assault in New York State Supreme Court — begins on Tuesday.

"This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change," said a statement released by Time's Up and signed by 25 of Weinstein's accusers, including actresses Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan.

The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards will be broadcast Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT

About the Author

Zulekha Nathoo

Digital/Broadcast reporter, L.A.

Zulekha Nathoo is a breaking news and entertainment reporter based in Los Angeles. From the Oscars to the Grammys, she's interviewed some of the biggest names in showbiz including Celine Dion and Denzel Washington. She also works on-air covering news events and spent more than a decade at CBC stations across Canada, including Toronto and Calgary. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram: @zulekhanathoo.


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