Several movies saw their Oscar hopes get brighter on Sunday night.
"Nomadland" lived up to expectations by taking home best movie drama at the Golden Globes ceremony, which also recognized its director Chloé Zhao. She is the first woman of color to triumph in her category and joins Barbra Streisand as the only women to be named best director.
But before "Nomadland" took its place as the night's big winner, there were plenty of surprises.
Andra Day, star of "The United States vs. Billie Holiday," beat out heavy favorites Frances McDormand and Carey Mulligan in the best dramatic actress race. Jodie Foster seemed just as shocked as viewers were when she won for her supporting role in "The Mauritanian." Rosamund Pike's performance in "I Care a Lot" earned her a win for best comedic actress. All increased their chances of hearing their names called when Academy Award nominations are announced March 15.
Pike got off one of the finest zingers of the evening in her acceptance speech, giving a nod to fellow nominee Maria Bakalova, who had a scene in "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" with a former New York mayor.
"In my movie, I had to swim up from a sinking car," she said. "I'd rather do that than be in a room with Rudy Giuliani."
Bakalova may not have been recognized for her scene-stealing character, but "Borat" did claim the award for best comedic film as well as best comedic actor for Sacha Baron Cohen, who took his own swipe at Guiliani as well as Donald Trump.
Cohen failed to win for his role in the drama "The Trial of the Chicago 7," but that film's director, Aaron Sorkin, won for best screenplay, his third.
Minnesota native Pete Docter also became a three-time winner when the Pixar movie he codirected, "Soul," was picked as best animated film.
"Little did we know that in making a film about jazz that jazz would teach us so much about life," said Docter, who previously triumphed for "Up" and "Inside Out." "Like, we can't always control what goes on the world but like a good jazz musician, we can try to turn that into something beautiful."
Like most of the winners, Docter accepted via Zoom, a practice also adopted by the Emmy Awards last September.
But this time around, the speeches were riddled with technical difficulties. Maybe the nominees should have had a practice session on how to unmute.
The event also aired during renewed controversy over its voting process.
A recent story in the Los Angeles Times reminded readers that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association consists of only 87 members, more than a third of whom were flown to France for a lavish "Emily in Paris" junket. The sitcom, savaged by critics, ended up with two nominations. Thankfully, the award for outstanding TV comedy went to "Schitt's Creek."
More problematic was the revelation that the HFPA has no Black members, an issue that was addressed several times during the three-hour ceremony.
"Inclusivity is important," said Tina Fey in an opening monologue that she delivered with Amy Poehler. "I realize maybe you guys didn't get the memo because your workplace is the back of a French McDonald's."
Despite the backdrop, the Golden Globes paid special attention to diversity throughout the evening.
In addition to wins for Day and "Soul," about the adventures of a Black jazz musician, the best dramatic actor award went to the late Chadwick Boseman for his dynamic work in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," an adaptation of August Wilson's play.
Best supporting actor in a movie went to Daniel Kaluuya, who played Black Panther Fred Hampton in "Judas and the Black Messiah." British-Nigerian actor John Boyega's role in "Small Axe" earned him the award for TV's best supporting actor, beating out more familiar faces like Donald Sutherland, Jim Parsons and recent Emmy winner Dan Levy.
Levy did get to make the acceptance speech for "Schitt's Creek," which he co-created.
The other big TV winners had royalty in common.
"The Queen's Gambit" ruled in the best miniseries category, with an award also going to its breakout star, Anya Taylor-Joy. "The Crown" was named best dramatic series with wins for three of its stars, including Gillian Anderson, who played Margaret Thatcher.
Catherine O'Hara, Levy's co-star in "Schitt's Creek," backed up her Emmy win by capturing her first Golden Globe. She tried to have some fun by having husband Bo Welch try cutting off her speech with "walk-off" music from his cellphone.
The bit didn't quite work, but at least she tried having some fun with the circumstances. Most winners seemed content just making sure their living rooms didn't look like pig sties.
Jason Sudeikis, who looked like he had just come in from mowing the lawn, seemed completely unprepared for his win as TV's best comedic actor. At one point, fellow nominee Don Cheadle jokingly gave him the wrap-up signal from his home.
There were some amusing moments from other "Saturday Night Live" alumni. Poehler and Fey, co-hosting for the fourth time, delivered some sharp quips, although the live audience members, primarily health care professionals and other essential workers, had not perfected the over-the-top laughs that Hollywood types are trained to deliver. And Kenan Thompson and Maya Rudolph killed as the drunken winners of a fake award for best theme song.
But the standout moment at the podium belonged to Jane Fonda, who was the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Instead of reminiscing about her career, the actor used her stage time to recognize the films and TV shows of the last year that reminded her of the importance of inclusivity. It was one of the most electrifying performances.