Will Smith, MJ Rodriguez take home first-ever Golden Globes; Rodriguez makes history

Many Golden Globe awardees marked their wins on social media, including Rodriguez, who celebrated with fans on Instagram.

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Michaela Jaé “MJ” Rodriguez made history on Sunday as the first-ever transgender actor to win a Golden Globe Award. Rodriguez took home a statuette for best actress in a drama for her turn as Blanca Evangelista in the hit FX series, Pose

King Richard, the biopic about Richard Williams, the focused father of Venus and Serena Williams, was nominated for best motion picture-drama, and its star, Will Smith, won the award for best performance by an actor in a motion picture-drama. 

Will Smith (left) and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (right) took home their first Golden Globe Awards Sunday night, and Rodriguez made history as the first trangender actor to win one. (Photos: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images and Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Last night’s Golden Globes ceremony was historic for several reasons. Given the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases due to the highly transmissible omicron variant, as well as ethical issues and controversy surrounding the lack of Blacks in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the awards, the 2022 ceremony was not televised. 

The HFPA has since diversified its membership and updated its bylaws, per Variety.

HFPA President Helen Hoehne announced at Sunday’s online opening ceremony the association’s intention “to be outspoken about what we’re learning and challenge others to join us with members from more than 50 countries.”

“We have a unique place in the awards universe,” she said.

While there were very few celebrity appearances, and most of those were via video, many 2022 Golden Globe winners marked their victories via social media — including Rodriguez, who celebrated with fans on Instagram

“Wow! You talking about sickening birthday present! Thank you! This is the door that is going to open the door for many more young talented individuals,” she wrote. “They will see that it is more than possible. They will see that a young Black Latina girl from Newark, New Jersey who had a dream, to change the minds others would WITH LOVE. LOVE WINS. To my young LGBTQAI babies, WE ARE HERE the door is now open now reach the stars!!!!!”

She also paid homage to her fellow nominees. “To the nominees we are Queens,” Rodriguez wrote. “I’m so happy to share space with you! Each and every last one of you women are phenomenal.”

Other winners include the hit HBO show Succession for best drama series, and Jeremy Strong, one of its stars, for best actor in a drama series. West Side Story took the award for best musical or comedy motion picture, and Ariana DeBose won for best supporting actress for her role as Anita in the Steven Spielberg-directed musical remake.

“There is still work to be done,” DeBose wrote Sunday night on Twitter, “but when you’ve worked so hard on a project- infused with blood, sweat, tears and love- having the work seen and acknowledged is always going to be special. Thank you.”

Instead of the traditional lavish awards night, a small cache of HFPA members announced the winners from a ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, according to The New York Times. Real-time updates were broadcast on the Golden Globes website and via social media. 

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association approved a wide-ranging proposal to radically change its board last spring.

As noted in The Hollywood Reporter, 21 new members — including six African Americans — were added to its membership in October. 

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