maddie ziegler in music movie

Why the Golden Globes Nominees Are Problematic

Every year, movies and television shows are snubbed by award shows. It’s inevitable and always pretty upsetting. However, this year, the snubs and nominees were extremely telling of the society we live in as a whole, and show us that we need to do better. The 2021 Golden Globes nominees have shown a magnifying glass on the ableism and racism that is still prevalent in our culture. 

Sia misses the mark

Let’s start with singer Sia’s venture into the film world, with her debut 2020 film, Music, starring Maddie Zeigler. The film was nominated for 2 Golden Globes, one for best motion picture (musical or comedy) and another for Kate Hudson, for best performance by an actress in a motion picture (musical or comedy). The film’s subject matter and director/producer, Sia, are what make it so problematic. Music tells the story of a young girl on the autism spectrum named Music, played by Maddie Zeigler, who moves in with her newly sober half sister Zu, played by Kate Hudson. The movie plays on old stereotypes of people on the autism spectrum. 

Although the content is problematic, Sia also received pushback when the film was accused of not casting a person with autism to play Music and instead casting the neurotypical Zeigler. Sia responded harshly to critics and said that the role would have been too difficult for someone on the spectrum, which is not true. Music is nonverbal, and in the film, Zu restrains her in a way that is not helpful and is harmful for viewers to watch. This performance should not have landed Hudson a nomination, and instead it should have gone to the immensely talented and snubbed Cristin Milioti for her performance in Palm Springs opposite Andy Samberg. 

Related: Initial Details Emerge Regarding Oscars 2021, Which Is Set To Broadcast From Several Locations

Michaela Coel goes unnoticed

Another immense snub was the lack of recognition for Michaela Coel’s series I May Destroy You. The series is based off of Coel’s own experience with sexual assault, and features a mostly Black cast. The fact that shows like Emily In Paris and Ratched, which received mixed reviews, were nominated, is a complete snub to I May Destroy You. The show’s poignant message has been basically ignored by the Golden Globes, which speaks volumes.

One of the writers on Emily In Paris even issued an apology, stating that I May Destroy You and Coel deserved recognition for the series. This shows the racism still prevalent in Hollywood and the awards system, as white women like Lily Collins are praised for mediocre performances while Black women like Michaela Coel, who wrote, produced, and starred in a series about her own sexual trauma, are ignored. 

The Golden Globes and award shows in general must do better, and after public outcry following this year’s nominees, I think they will.

Samantha Dilsheimer

Samantha Dilsheimer

Samantha is a student at Boston University studying television writing and producing originally from Philadelphia, PA. She's passionate about comedy, reality TV, and Diet Coke.

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