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Golden Globes: 'Nomadland' wins best drama; 'Borat' takes best comedy or musical

Chloé Zhao accepts the best director award for

Chloé Zhao accepts the best director award for her film, "Nomadland," at Sunday's 78th annual Golden Globe Awards. Credit: AFP / NBCUniversal / Peter Kramer via Getty Images

Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," Disney-Pixar’s animated "Soul" and the drama "Nomadland" earned two awards each (including best motion picture, drama) when the Golden Globes were handed out Sunday night.

Chloé Zhao became only the second woman to win best director, for "Nomadland."

Andra Day won a surprise best actress award in her first-ever film outing, "The United States vs. Billie Holiday."

In the evening’s most emotional moment, the late Chadwick Boseman won best actor in a dramatic motion picture, "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom."

"He would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices," said his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, speaking from a remote location. "I don’t have his words, but we have to take all the moments we can to celebrate those we love."

It was the Golden Globes, Pandemic Edition, as the 78-year-old awards show unfolded in an unprecedented virtual format. Four-time hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler beamed in separately: Fey from Manhattan’s posh Rainbow Room and Poehler from the Globes’ traditional home of the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Many presenters appeared in person, while the nominees and winners beamed in from wherever they happened to be.

Fey and Poehler appeared in split-screen format, standing in front of similar-looking gold-decorated backdrops. After Fey pretended awkwardly to stroke Poehler’s hair across the country and TV screens, the two ran through their dual opening monologues in front of live audiences of first responders, masked and sitting at tables far apart.

The show got off to a rocky start when Daniel Kaluuya, the evening’s first winner, couldn’t be heard while accepting his award for best supporting actor, in the film "Judas and the Black Messiah." Presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties, but before she could move on, Kaluuya managed to make himself heard — "Am I on? Is this on?" — then launched into a speech that ended with him lifting a glass of Champagne.

The novelty of the virtual format almost overshadowed the more serious issues facing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which awards the Globes, as well as the entertainment industry at large. The HFPA has come under fire following a recent Los Angeles Times report that it has no Black members. What’s more, this year’s best dramatic picture category — often called the Globes’ equivalent to the best picture Oscar — excluded several Black-led films, notably "Da 5 Bloods," "Judas and the Black Messiah," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" and "One Night in Miami."

Hosts Fey and Poehler briefly acknowledged the controversy and the snubbed films. "We gotta change that," Fey said. Later, prominent members of the HFPA took the stage to promise that they would bring in more Black journalists.

The evening’s virtual acceptance speeches varied from well-rehearsed to off-the-cuff.

Rosamund Pike wore a fancy red dress to accept her award for best actress in a comedic film, "I Care a Lot," while Jason Sudeikis wore a tie-dyed hooded sweatshirt to accept his award for best actor in a comedy series, "Ted Lasso." (In a sure-to-go-viral moment, fellow nominee Don Cheadle circled his finger in a wrap-it-up motion during Sudeikis’ speech.) Director Pete Doctor accepted the best animated feature award for "Soul," then held up a tablet so that the film’s co-writer, Kemp Powers, could deliver a speech-within-a-speech.

Norman Lear, 98, the prolific television producer of such era-defining shows as "All in the Family" and "One Day at a Time," accepted the Carol Burnett Award for excellence in television, crediting his long life to his family and many collaborators over the years. Jane Fonda, accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for contributions to the entertainment world, encouraged her industry to embrace diversity.

"Let’s all of us make an effort to expand that tent so that everyone rises and everyone’s story has a chance to be seen and heart," she said. "Let’s be leaders, OK?"

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