'Nomadland,' 'Borat' win at a socially distant Golden Globes

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In this video grab issued Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, by NBC, hosts Tina Fey, left, from New York, and Amy Poehler, from Beverly Hills, Calif., speak at the Golden Globe Awards. (NBC via AP)

(AP) – With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.”

The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984.

“'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you."

With a canceled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavor. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood.

Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, the now Disney-owned specialty label behind “12 Years a Slave” and “Birdman.”

Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star, guerilla comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Baron Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.”

“I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," he said.

Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series.