Awards’ season is upon us!
Often called Hollywood’s biggest party, the Golden Globes are typically regarded as the kick-off to the race to the Oscars with many of the same stars and projects nominated here as at March’s prestigious event.
This year, a number of Asian-led projects and actors were nominated for (and won!) awards, and took the opportunity to celebrate at last night’s ceremony. And while there was plenty to celebrate, there was a lot for us to raise our eyebrows at.
Here are the biggest moments from this year’s Golden Globe awards.
Asians slaying the red carpet
One of the best parts of awards seasons? Red carpets. Among the glitz and glam, Asian talent showed up and showed out last night. Our best dressed list includes Past Lives star and Best Actress nominee Greta Lee in a backless custom Loewe gown (proving once again that she is the moment), Mission Impossible’s Pom Klementieff in Dolce and Gabbana, Michelle Yeoh in a red Bottega dress and current fave Charles Melton rocking a deep navy blue Giorgio Armani suit and sparkly stud earring (and, the best part of his red carpet: his mother Sukyoung who he brought as his date).
Honourable mentions go to Past Lives’ Teo Yoo in a metallic Dolce and Gabbana suit, writer/director Celine Song in Loewe and Hailee Steinfeld in a pink Prada gown and black elbow-length gloves.
Jo Koy hosting
This year, standup comedian Jo Koy made history as the first Filipino American to host the Golden Globes. He started off his opening monologue by poking fun at the night’s nominees—including Meryl Streep, Margot Robbie and Barry Keogan. While that’s par for the course at awards shows, Koy also made a couple jokes at the expense of one of this year’s most popular movies, Barbie, joking that “Oppenheimer is based on a 721-page, Pulitzer Prize-winning book about the Manhattan Project. And Barbie is on a plastic doll with big boobies.” The dig left plenty of stars in the room looking displeased and viewers at home expressed their anger online at Koy’s joke—which they viewed as rooted in misogyny.
To top it off, when the mood in the room had obviously turned against Koy, the comedian chose to throw the unseen writers under the bus, joking “ wrote some of these [jokes], and they’re the ones you’re laughing at.” Not a great look in a year where Hollywood was defined by labour action from writers demanding more.
While we love to see Asian representation, especially on such a big global stage, Koy’s performance, and the tepid response, was disappointing to say the least.
Beef wins big—while ignoring the elephant in the room
One of the most celebrated projects last night was Beef, which went home with three awards—Best Actress in a Limited Series for Ali Wong (who is the first Asian American woman to win this award), Best Actor in a Limited Series for Steven Yeun and Best Limited TV Series.
It was exciting to watch Beef, which has been an awards season favourite all year, pick up one of Hollywood’s biggest prizes. Especially because the show is an absolutely brilliant meditation on anger, grief and Asian American identity. But, it’s frustrating to watch the stars and creators behind Beef ignore the David Choe controversy.
ICYMI: After Beef first hit Netflix earlier this year, a podcast clip of star David Choe (who is also a well-known artist) emerged. The clip featured Choe “jokingly” recounting an incident where he sexually assaulted a Black woman. Yeun and Wong (along with creator Lee Sung Jin) ignored the online backlash for days until they released a joint statement saying that they do not “condone” Choe’s story but have also seen Choe “put in the work to get the mental health support he needed over the next decade to better himself and learn from his mistakes.” Which, to us, seemed like sweeping it under the rug.
It’s frustrating to watch some of the biggest Asian American stars ignore and hide from allegations of misogynoir. Especially as the show goes on a major awards sweep, it’s the perfect opportunity to open up conversation about misogynoir and anti-Black racism in the Asian community—rather than do what is so often done in our community: pretend that it doesn’t exist.
Michelle Yeoh reminds us that she’s a badass
Michelle Yeoh, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy last year for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, presented an award at this year’s ceremony alongside Naomi Watt. And while she wasn’t nominated, Yeoh took the opportunity to remind us that she can still kick our asses by calling out last year’s mistake.
During the 2023 Golden Globes, Yeoh started to be played off during her acceptance speech, to which she quipped that she could “beat up” the backstage musicians.
“I know last year, I threatened to beat up the piano player if they tried to play me off my acceptance speech,” Yeoh joked at this year’s ceremony, right as a soft melody started to play, earning a hilarious side eye from her. “You will be happy to know that I’m very chill this year.” It was one of the funniest moments of the night and reminded us all that Yeoh is an absolute badass.
The Boy and the Heron’s historic win
One of this year’s most popular films, The Boy and the Heron, took home the Golden Globe for Best Animated Motion Picture. It’s an absolutely historic win. The Boy and the Heron is the first Japanese film to ever win in this category, the first non-American film to win in the category’s 18-year history and, despite the overwhelming love at other awards like the Oscars, this film is Studio Ghibli’s first to win a Golden Globe in any category.
The film’s composer, Joe Hisashi, was also nominated for Best Original Score. It was his first nomination at a major western awards ceremony, despite his long and illustrious career scoring some of our favourite Japanese animated films (like Ponyo, Spirited Away, and Kiki’s Delivery Service).
Simu Liu and Issa Rae poke fun at “white people roles”
Our favourite joke of the night came late into the ceremony when Barbie co-stars Simu Liu and Issa Rae took the stage to present the award for Best Limited TV series. They began by commenting on not looking like the “typical” Barbies and Kens, and Rae noted that she hopes to “continue to push the boundaries of the roles [they] can play” to which Liu jumped in: “by that, we mean, white people roles.”
The two ultimately presented the award to Beef, which had a number of Asian creatives flood the stage in celebration. It was the cherry on top of this hilarious skewering of Hollywood diversity and the roles BIPOC are “allowed” to play.