At the Globes, Eddie Murphy-starrer Dolemite is My Name, a Netflix co-produced biographical comedy, is the only film with major nominations that has a African American lead character.
Thirty-four Golden Globe nominations, 17 each for TV and films, are certainly a validation of Netflix’s content prowess. Although Netflix and other streaming platforms had won a major fight with the Oscar’s retaining rules to let them compete, the Golden Globes announcement has come as a surprise. While everyone had expected Netflix and other platforms to make a dent in the award categories—Amazon has an Oscar to its name with Manchester by the Sea—no one had expected to be this big. Not only Netflix, the newly started Apple TV also secured nominations for one of its shows. The trend is certainly refreshing as it points to the dominance of streaming-focused content, but, more importantly, it gives impetus to the likes of Netflix to produce more good quality content. Besides, it also makes such content easily accessible to masses, which was rare in older days.
The platform through which cinema reaches audiences may have evolved, but the industry still has to undergo quite a few churns. While, at the Oscars this year, more women and more non-Whites bagged awards—and in 2017, Moonlight, a movie with a nearly all-Black cast won the Best Picture, and in 2018, Get Out, a horror-satire on race relations in the US, won Jordan Peele, a Black screenplay writer, the Best Screenplay award—diversity is still a contentious topic for the industry. At the Globes, Eddie Murphy-starrer Dolemite is My Name, a Netflix co-produced biographical comedy, is the only film with major nominations that has a African American lead character. Awards are not meant to enforce racial equality and bolster diversity, but is all-White a winning formula, going by the pick of the jury? The likes of Netflix that have made diversity a top priority will have to walk the talk when it comes to award nominations and the brand value that accrues from these.