Why the 2019 Golden Globes Were Truly a "Moment of Change"

The 2019 Golden Globes marked a milestone for more inclusiveness and diversity in Hollywood. Some Golden Globe winners of color were Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”) who won Best Director (Motion Picture), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) and Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) who won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture.

As the first Filipino American to win a Golden Globe, Darren Criss addressed his heritage in his speech about representation in Hollywood saying, “I am so enormously proud to be a teeny, tiny part of that as the son of a firecracker Filipino woman from Cebu that dreamed of coming to this country and getting to be invited to cool parties like this.”

Also, regarding equal representation of men and women on screen, Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture, mentioned about TIME’S UPx2, promising that everything she produces in the next two years will be 50% women.

 

And, we must not forget Sandra Oh, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series (Drama) for “Killing Eve.” With this, she became the first person of Asian descent to win multiple Golden Globes and also the first person of Asian descent to ever host the Golden Globes.

In her touching opening speech, Sandra Oh stated that she said yes to being the host because she wanted to be present and “witness this moment of change.” It was truly a genuine moment for all and her words moved many hearts, including mine. Looking back at the history of Asian exclusion through immigration law, racism and whitewashing, her accomplishment was a significant step for Asian representation in Hollywood.

Lack of diversity in Hollywood productions have always been a topic of concern. Compared to decades ago, Hollywood films may have become more inclusive. However, there are still issues as whitewashing and overrepresentation of white people, with a vast amount of films with white male protagonists. The Hollywood Diversity Report 2018 by UCLA reported significant underrepresentation of people of color and of the top film roles in 2016, Asians were underrepresented with only 3.1% of the roles, Blacks claiming 12.5%, Latinos claiming 2.7% and Natives claiming 0.5%.

With screens showing a distorted portion of what is in reality, it seems to be conveying a message that one should remain invisible or one is unworthy to be presented. Movies and TV shows may just be entertainment, but it can also be strong tools to create dreams and confidence and provide a little push on the back. That is why it is important for Hollywood to truly reflect the diverse society we live in today.

Looking solely at Asian representation in film, 2018 seemed to be a remarkable year, with the all-Asian cast of “Crazy Rich Asians” as well as the Vietnamese-American Lana Condor starring in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Though these achievements are to be noted, we must not judge too quickly that times have completely changed. Much, much more can be done – this is just a small step towards a large movement.

However, I am not just hoping for true representation of Asians, but for all people of color and for all people of the vast genders to be included and represented properly. This may be the time to show solidarity and shed the spotlight to groups who hardly get their voices on screen.

Now that we have witnessed this moment of change at the Golden Globes, let 2019 be a year where we see more of this and we work more towards another step in this change.