February 4, 2023

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Michelle Yeoh, Steven Spielberg win in revamped Golden Globes

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Malaysian actress takes home top acting honour while Spielberg wins best director.

Malaysian star Michelle Yeoh has taken home a top acting award at the Golden Globes after the ceremony’s return following a scandal over diversity and ethics.

Yeoh, renowned for doing her own stunts, was honoured as best actress in a musical or comedy on Tuesday night for her lead role in the dimension-hopping action film Everything Everywhere All at Once.

“Hollywood was a dream come true until I came here,” the 60-year-old actress added, noting that she was called a “minority” and asked if she could speak English early on in her career.

Forty years later, “it’s been an amazing journey and incredible fight to be here today, but I think it’s been worth it,” she said.

Also honoured was Steven Spielberg, nominated 14 times by the Globes for best director and winning for the third time with his autobiographical coming-of-age movie The Fabelmans, and Irish actor Colin Farrell, who won best actor in a musical or comedy for his part in the dark comedy of shattered friendship The Banshees of Inisherin.

Austin Butler, the 31-year-old star of director Baz Luhrmann’s rock-and-roll biopic Elvis, won best actor in a drama.

“You were an icon and a rebel and I love you so much,” said Butler to the late, legendary singer in an emotional speech in which he also praised Presley’s family for their support.

“You could at least play ‘Suspicious Minds’ or something,” he joked to the gala’s pianist, as music interrupted his moment on stage.

Australian Cate Blanchett was named best actress in a drama for her role as an orchestral conductor in Tár.

Celebrities and broadcaster NBC abandoned the 2022 Globes because of ethical lapses at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the group that hands out the awards.

A larger, more diverse membership and other changes persuaded many of the biggest movie and TV stars to support this year’s ceremony — the 80th Golden Globe Awards — the traditional curtain raiser for the Hollywood awards season.

The show unfolded largely as it had in years past, except for a biting monologue from comedian and host Jerrod Carmichael who opened the show joking, “I’m here because I’m Black.”

“I won’t say they were a racist organisation,” he continued before sitting on the stage. “But they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will.”

Other award winners included Black Panther actress Angela Bassett, who won a supporting actress award for playing Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

“We showed the world what Black unity, leadership and love looks like beyond, behind and in front of the camera,” Bassett said as she held her trophy.

Roughly 200 journalists and others from the international film industry voted on this year’s Globes.

Among those voters, nearly 52 percent were racially and ethnically diverse, including 10 percent who were Black, according to the HFPA.

Among the television awards, Mike White’s HBO series White Lotus was named best limited or anthology series.

Fresh off her dramatic finale, Jennifer Coolidge gave one of the night’s lengthiest and warmest speeches while accepting the award for best supporting actress in a limited series.

“Even if this is the end, you sort of changed my life in a million different ways,” Coolidge told White. “My neighbours are speaking to me, things like that.”

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