Ripples from the history-making 78th Golden Globes

Last night I dreamt I was interviewing Chloé Zhao. Not just a sit-down interview, but I actually hung out with her as buddies. That was a dream, and that much is true.  

Before the dream, I was watching the 78th Golden Globes Awards show aired live last Sunday night. This year, it’s a much scaled down, stripped to the minimal, virtual event. The show must go on, as they say. So, we have Amy Poehler from the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and Tina Fey from the Rainbow Room in New York being pulled together on one screen as if they were standing side-by-side for the fourth time hosting. A technical marvel.

Nominees were at home or wherever they were at that moment, wearing whatever they felt like, watching and giving acceptance speech via their own small screen. A few of them were at the Beverley Hilton adorning glamorous, designer gowns, a reminder of previous Globe glitters and the red carpet.

Other than the unprecedented format, history was made last Sunday night.

Chloé Zhao became the second woman to win the Best Director Golden Globe award in the 78-year history of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual extravaganza. She is also the first Asian woman to do so. What more, her film Nomadland won the top prize, Best Motion Picture – Drama. As a co-producer, she became the first woman producer of Asian descent to receive that accolade.

For a historical reference, Barbra Streisand was the first female to win a Best Director Golden Globe with Yentl in 1984. Taiwanese-American Ang Lee claimed that honor twice with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2001 and Brokeback Mountain in 2006, the only other Asian American to take that award.  

If it’s not due to Covid 19, never could there be a Best Director and Best Motion Picture winner accept the Golden Globe dressed in an olive color t-shirt, hair in pigtails. She probably might not be at home, maybe at work on location. But still, I remember the Cannes controversy where female stars were frowned upon––no they didn’t outright say ban––for not wearing heels on the red carpet.

It’s in this unassuming manner that Chloé (I’m sure she wouldn’t mind me calling her by her first name) picked up her color-matching mug to toast everyone and gave her virtual acceptance speech. Quoting the ‘guru’ among the nomads, Bob Wells, she said:  

“Compassion is the breakdown of all the barriers between us. A heart-to-heart bonding. Your pain is my pain. It’s mingled and shared between us.” She then went on to say, “this is why I fell in love with making movies and telling stories cause it gives us the chance to laugh and cry with each other, to learn from each other, to have more compassion for each other.”

An iconoclast, no doubt. If not because of the pandemic, I can’t imagine a female Globe winner in a t-shirt and I assume, no make-up, and speaks from her heart, not to shun the glitter of the gold but just to be her normal self of a human being, most likely here too, as an identification with the nomads in her film.

Accepting the Best Motion Picture – Drama award, she said about Nomadland:

“At its core, for me, it’s a pilgrimage through grief and healing. So, for everyone who has gone through their difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you. We don’t say goodbye, we say see you down the road.”

Maybe that image rippled in my mind as I went to sleep and conjured up that dream…

Well, see you down the road, Chloé. And hopefully then, not in a dream, but for real.


Related Ripple Posts:

Nomadland Book Review

The Rider is Poetry on Screen

Top Ripples 2020

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

10 thoughts on “Ripples from the history-making 78th Golden Globes”

  1. I watched. I thought as an awards show it was the worst I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. Even Tina and Amy seemed off their game to me, but it was the material, not them so much, although the split screen just looked stupid to me. I didn’t like seeing all the zoom faces watching all the time — felt weird and awkward. Do we clap? Are we on? But I did like the winners, most of the speeches. I didn’t mind the casual at-home bit. Loved Fonda’s speech. And please, in all awards shows, dump the stupid acts! Get up, read nominees and awards and be done with it! It felt like the speeches were overly long because no one was monitoring and then near the end, people were getting the “off the stage music” when they’d barely started. It made me really feel bad that it was PBS pledge week and no Masterpiece!


    1. I agree with you about the intermittent comedic acts… not needed. Inviting singers to sing the nominated songs might be a better substitute. But I do find the opening jokes quite funny, esp. while Amy tells how to distinguish between movies and TVs, remember? Sitting in front of the TV 5 times for 1 hr. each time she will do, (and for some, 5 hrs. straight) but not as willing to sit in for a 2 hr. movie. This is, I’m afraid, the trend for viewer habits. Also: Brit actors playing Brits is TV, Brit actors playing Americans is movie. So true. Anyway, considering they were doing this in a pandemic under so many restrictions, I find this awards show acceptable. And, as I’ve focused here, particularly like their embracing Chloé Zhao for Best Director and Nomadland for Best Picture… As this is women’s week leading to March 8, these two history-making awards are especially apropos.


  2. Hi Arti,

    I recorded the show and watched selectively afterwards. Loved Chloe Zhao’s speeches. Like you, I find her refreshing, accepting the honors looking so cozy in pigtails and t-shirt, raising a color matching mug. I’m reading Nomadland and will watch the film afterwards. Instead of dreaming of hanging out with Zhao, I dreamed of being among the nomads myself, driving through the southwest looking for work, and am overcome with sadness – sadness for this country, for my generation, for the next generation, wondering how they will fare as they reach retirement age. Then I woke up.

    The other highlight for me was seeing Jane Fonda receive the lifetime achievement award. She looked very elegant and classy in her white pant suit, amidst all the revealing designer gowns. Also touching to see Chadwick Boseman’s widow accept his awards for him.

    As always, a great post, may your dream come true:))



    1. Only in a pandemic under restrictions can the general ‘rules’ and norms of awards show be lifted. Irony of our times. Although I hope next GG will be back to ‘normal’, ie no more pandemic threats. However, as the accusations about GG so white, no black member at all, and with this year’s winners being more diverse, hopefully diversity will be the new normal. Yes, thanks, I do wish some day my dream will come true. 🙂


  3. So so happy for Chloe Zhao and her Golden Globe 🌎 award, and your dream is also a fun moment, as well!
    Great quotes from her speech Arti.
    Jane Fonda also spoke to the concept that movie makers are “storytellers” and it’s the stories that bring us closer together—with compassion.
    That’s why we love the movies!


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