Some Historic Wins For Diversity at Golden Globes and Emmys 2024

From left: Ayo Edebiri, Steven Yeun, Lee Sung Jin, Ali Wong and Lily Gladstone were among the few people of color to win a Golden Globes and Emmys

After last year’s bumper crop in diversity awards, the 2024 Golden Globe Awards saw some historic diversity moments and wins – from its first Indigenous winner in 81 years. The annual ceremony, hosted in L.A.’s Beverly Hilton Hotel, kicked off awards season with a couple milestones.

Stand-up comedian and producer Jo Koy became the Globes’ first Filipino American host (and the second Asian host in the ceremony’s history, following Sandra Oh). He commented on how white the audience was. Compared to last year, there weren’t as much diversity in the awards given.

Actor Lily Gladstone became the first Indigenous person to win a Golden Globe for her breakout portrayal of Mollie Kyle, the Osage wife of a killer who survived the Osage murders, in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Gladstone won the award for best female actor in a motion picture drama. “I love everyone in this room right now,” Gladstone said in her acceptance speech, after opening in the language of the Blackfeet nation she represents. “I don’t have words. I just spoke a bit of Blackfeet language; the beautiful community, nation that raised me, that encouraged me to keep doing this. I’m so grateful that I can speak even a little bit of my language. Because in this business, Native actors used to speak their lines in English and then the sound editors would run them backwards to accomplish Native languages on camera.”

“This is a historic win. It doesn’t belong to just me,” Gladstone said. “I’m holding it with all of my beautiful sisters in the film… standing on all of your shoulders.”

Pamela J. Peters, a Navajo documentarian and photographer based in L.A. and a friend of Gladstone’s, celebrated the historic achievement by quoting Gladstone’s speech: “For every little ‘res kid’ with a dream.” Peters, who works at the UCLA American Indian Studies Center, called it a “groundbreaking” win for Native American representation in Hollywood – which is still battling its long history of tropes and stereotypes.

“We don’t see that; we’re always in the background, (with) minimal dialogue … and to finally see us through the mist of the stereotypes that have been perpetuated throughout decades of filmmaking; to actually see a Native woman come to life and be in the spotlight, recognized for her craft, and be in equal standing place with other White actors – it’s just phenomenal,” Peters said. “It matters to us as Native women because we are not seen; not even in society. And for (Lily) to speak her voice was so groundbreaking. People don’t know there’s over 150+ Native languages still spoken, and that’s just one. She’s taken a large leap for Native voices and representation in film.”

The two black Globe winners in 2024 were Da’Vine Joy Randolph won best supporting actress in a motion picture for The Holdovers, while Ayo Edebiri won best actress in a television musical or comedy for The Bear. “The beauty is that all the time I poured into my crafts and all the sleepless nights I had to think about how I contribute to this industry as a woman of color has been worth it,” Randolph said backstage after her win. Edebiri also won an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy.

Ali Wong added “best actress in a limited series” to the list of categories that have had at least one winner of Asian descent. Her win was part of a sweep for limited series winner Beef, with lead actor Steven Yeun and creator Lee Sung Jin. They both also won Emmys for their acting in lead roles. The beef also won an Emmy for best limited series.

Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who won best animated feature for his final film, The Boy and the Heron. The Studio Ghibli movie is the first non-English language film to win in the category

Beginning this year, the Golden Globes have new owners and a new network, following industry-wide backlash after a 2021 investigation detailed an overall lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The awards also debuted a new category for cinematic and box office achievement – essentially the box office champions of the year – which director Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” won. The women-led film, based on the 1959 doll franchise, has been hailed for its themes of female empowerment and diversity. The Barbie film’s original song, “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell, also won.

Gerwig was also nominated for best director, along with “Past Lives” leader Celine Song – two females represented in the category.

LGBTQIA+ individuals were also represented in the nominees, with actor Andrew Scott in “All of Us Strangers” and Bella Ramsey in “The Last of Us.”

“We may not have been what first popped up in people’s minds when they thought of Barbie or Ken, but that’s changed, and we’re hoping to continue to push the boundaries of the roles we can play,” said “Barbie” actor Issa Rae, presenting the award for best limited TV series with her costar Simu Liu.

“By that, of course, we mean White people roles,” said Liu. “White people roles are the best.”

Netflix’s “Beef” swept in the limited TV series categories, winning best overall as the first show created and starring Asian Americans to win in its category. Its two leads, Steven Yeun and Ali Wong, also swept in the best actor and actress awards, respectively. Wong, playing Amy Lau, became the first Asian actor to win the Golden Globe for best female actor in a limited series.

Royel Johnson, an associate professor of education and chair of the Ph.D. program in the School of Education at USC, called this year’s Globes a “moment of celebration” for diverse representation. He noted that, in the conversations following such high-profile awards, overall wins still “remain largely White … which sparks further conversation.”

He noted the lack of Latino American wins, for example.

“While it’s a moment of conversation, it’s also an inflection point towards what we can do towards diversity and equity, and representation in different roles. We certainly need diverse writers who can write those roles that reflect the community and viewers. You can’t win awards in roles that are not created for you,” Johnson added. “While it’s exciting to celebrate these historic wins, I hope it’s an inflection point to not just diversify the Golden Globes, but to enact real, equitable change. The fact that we’re still celebrating ‘firsts’ in 2024 is problematic. The fact that we still have to calculate this and figure out who’s not represented is a problem in itself. I look forward to the day that we’re not celebrating the ‘first’ anymore.”