Golden Globes 2021: The best moments and major talking points

Chloé Zhao at the Golden Globes 2021
(Image credit: NBC)

The Golden Globes 2021 looked a little different from the previous ceremonies. Actors and comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the show, which is nothing new – the duo previously hosted in 2013, 2014, and 2015. However, this time, they were nearly 3,000 miles apart, with Poehler at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and Fey at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. 

Meanwhile, the nominated actors and filmmakers all called in from their homes via Zoom to make their acceptance speeches, with the live audiences in both LA and NYC consisting of frontline workers, masked up in their glad rags, in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic. "And so the celebrities can stay safely at home," Fey joked. 

While the pandemic means the Golden Globes 2021 will forever stand out from the rest, the show will be in the awards history book for other reasons, too – there were momentous wins for director Chloé Zhao and actor Andra Day, and the most pet appearances at any awards show ever. We've put together a list of the best moments and major talking points from the 2021 Golden Globes.

Chloé Zhao wins Best Director 

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Chloé Zhao continues to make history, becoming the first Asian woman to win Best Director at the Globes. Plus, she's only the second woman ever to win – Barbara Streisand was the first, all the way back in 1984. Zhao was awarded the gong for Nomadland, her movie starring Frances McDormand about modern-day nomads in the American West. 

Daniel Kaluuya's technical difficulties 

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As awards season goes online, there were bound to be some technical difficulties. The first to fall victim to the whims of Zoom was Daniel Kaluuya, whose audio cut out during his acceptance speech. Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor in a Film for his portrayal of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. "You're doing me dirty!" he exclaimed, when the audio started working again. "Is this on?"

Andra Day wins Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama 

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Andra Day made history as the second Black woman to ever win the gong for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama for her performance in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. She's the first Black woman to win for 35 years, following Whoopi Goldberg's win for The Color Purple in 1986. Day plays Holiday in the movie, which follows the undercover sting operation against the iconic jazz singer by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the '40s.

Chadwick Boseman's wife accepts his posthumous award 

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The late Chadwick Boseman posthumously received the award for Best Actor in a Film, Drama, for his final performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award on Boseman's behalf, giving an emotional speech. "He would say something beautiful," she said. "Something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of us that tells us you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you were meant to be doing in this moment."

Family gate-crashers

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Most of us have probably had a family member unwittingly crash a Zoom meeting at some point during the pandemic. Well, turns out Golden Globe winners aren't exempt from that, either – stars, they're just like us. Mark Ruffalo's kids crashed his acceptance speech when he won Best Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie for I Know This Much is True, while Lee Isaac Chung's young daughter had an adorable reaction to the director's Best Film, Foreign Language win for Minari. 

Pet cameos

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One perk of Zoom awards season, as well as getting to peek into celebrities' homes, is the pet cameos – you don't get many cats on the red carpet at The Beverly Hilton. Jodie Foster's dog sat between her and her wife as Foster accepted her award for Best Supporting Actress in a Film, while Sarah Paulson and Regina King's dogs and Emma Corrin's cat also had their moments in the spotlight. 

David Fincher's reaction to losing Best Film (and Best Director)

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David Fincher had the best, and perhaps most relatable, reaction to losing out on the Best Film, Drama award – the Mank filmmaker toasted his webcam before taking a shot. When he lost out again for Best Director, Fincher took a second shot. Despite Mank leading this year's Globe's nominations, with six other nods in total including acting nominations for Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, the movie about the Citizen Kane screenwriter didn't end up taking any awards home on the night.

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's opening monologue  

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey brought their usual tongue-in-cheek humor to their hosting, with shots being fired straight off the bat in their opening monologue. Fey started out by explaining who the HFPA, the Globes' voting body, is. "The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90, international, no Black, journalists," Fey said. Meanwhile, the hosts got in several digs at controversial nominee, Netflix series Emily in Paris. Fey said: "Emily in Paris is nominated for Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy, and I, for one, can't wait to find out which it is."

Sacha Baron Cohen's acceptance speech

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Sacha Baron Cohen took home two awards for Borat 2: Best Actor in a Film, Musical or Comedy, and Best Film, Musical or Comedy. And, in true Baron Cohen fashion, he had a predictably fiery acceptance speech. “Thank you to the all-white Hollywood Foreign Press," he said, seated next to his wife, Isla Fisher. 

"I’ve gotta say this movie couldn’t have been possible without my co-star, a fresh, new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius,” Baron Cohen said. “I’m talking, of course, about Rudy Giuliani. I mean, who can get more laughs out of one unzipping?" 

For more on the ceremony, check out the Golden Globes 2021 winners list in full.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.