Golden Globes 2021 winners: The biggest surprises and snubs, from Andra Day’s Best Actress win to The Crown’s royal flush

Katie Rosseinsky
·4-min read
 (HFPA via Getty Images)
(HFPA via Getty Images)

The Golden Globes wouldn’t be the Golden Globes without some wild card wins, and while this year’s virtual show may have lacked the usual champagne-fuelled energy, the ceremony still managed to deliver a handful of surprises.

The Best Actress races felt especially topsy turvy this year, with singer and first time actress Andra Day beating hotly tipped Brit favourites like Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) in the drama category for her compelling turn in The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Lee Daniels’ biopic of the jazz legend. A Globes win isn’t always a stepping stone to Oscar victory, but this will surely bring her one step closer to at least netting a nomination from the Academy later this month.

I Care A Lot’s Rosamund Pike was another surprise winner in the comedy category, beating Borat breakout star and clear favourite Maria Bakalova, while few would have predicted a Supporting Actress win for The Mauritanian’s Jodie Foster: though Foster has been widely praised for her performance, the trophy felt like a dead cert for Mank star Amanda Seyfried.

Andra Day picked up the Best Actress award for her first ever film roleHFPA via Getty Images
Andra Day picked up the Best Actress award for her first ever film roleHFPA via Getty Images

Easier to call was Chloe Zhao’s historic Best Director win for Nomadland. Zhao became only the second woman - and the first woman of Asian descent - to receive the trophy in almost eight decades of Globes history. Her film, which stars Frances McDormand as a woman travelling across America after losing her job, also picked up the Best Drama award, laying the foundations for a potential Oscar win later on.

Chadwick Boseman was posthumously honoured with the Best Actor in a Drama award for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, with his wife Taylor Simone Leward accepting the trophy in an emotional speech. The Black Panther star, who died of colon cancer aged 43 last summer, is also the favourite to receive the same award at the Oscars, where he could also pick up a Supporting Actor nomination for his turn in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods.

Kaluuya had a few technical difficulties during his speechAP
Kaluuya had a few technical difficulties during his speechAP

Daniel Kaluuya, meanwhile, battled Zoom-induced technical difficulties (hey, we’ve all been there) to accept the Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Film for his turn as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. It was the first Golden Globe win for the Londoner, who was previously nominated for his role in Jordan Peele’s socially conscious horror movie Get Out.

There were fewer surprises over in the TV awards, where The Crown made a clean sweep, victorious in every category it was nominated in. Newcomer Emma Corrin beat her co-star (and last year’s winner) Olivia Colman to the Best Actress in a TV Drama title for her scene-stealing portrayal of Princess Diana, while Gillian Anderson was also recognised in the Supporting Actress category for her uncanny Iron Lady transformation.

Corrin received her first major award for her turn as Princess DianaHFPA via Getty Images
Corrin received her first major award for her turn as Princess DianaHFPA via Getty Images

The Netflix show was crowned (sorry) Best Drama for the second time (it previously received the honour back in 2017 for its debut season) and - perhaps most surprisingly - Josh O’Connor beat industry heavyweights and Globes favourites like Al Pacino and Bob Odenkirk to win Best Actor in a TV Drama for his turn as Prince Charles. A right royal flush, you could say. Two big wins for The Queen’s Gambit, one in the Best Limited Series category and a first Globe for lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy, rounded off a glittering night for the streaming service. Peckham-born John Boyega was another first-time winner, picking up a trophy for his turn as real-life Met Police officer Leroy Logan in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe anthology series.

Despite a handful of brilliant wins for talented Londoners though, it was hard to shake off the feeling that this should have been Michaela Coel’s night, too - the star and creator of I May Destroy You was entirely snubbed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when nominations were announced back in January, prompting outcries from critics and fans alike (especially given that some, ahem, patchier series had managed to pick up nods).

After a social media campaign from Time’s Up over the weekend pointed out that the HFPA currently has no black members, here’s hoping that the Globes finally take steps to diversify their membership.

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