On Wednesday morning, movie lovers enjoyed an annual celebration of chaos: the Golden Globe nominations. True to form, this year included several wild snubs and surprises—including the complete exclusion of Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, one of the year’s most gutting dramas as well as one of the last films Chadwick Boseman shot before his death last year.
And to make things more awkward? Spike Lee’s children, Jackson and Satchel, are this year’s Golden Globe Ambassadors—so they’ll still be handing out the trophies and escorting winners off the stage at the show. (Having your kids hand out gold statuettes shouldn’t entitle anyone to nominations, of course. It just makes the omission especially strange.)
Each year the Hollywood Foreign Press Association chooses a Hollywood child or two to assist in presenting the Golden Globes and raise awareness about the philanthropy of their choosing. (Last year it was Pierce Brosnan’s sons Paris and Dylan, and the year before that it was Idris Elba’s daughter, Isan.) Jackson will make history this year as the first Black male ambassador in the show’s history, and he and Satchel are also the first Black siblings to occupy the role, Entertainment Weekly noted upon their announcement. The two have chosen to benefit Callen-Lorde and Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations, each of which will receive a $25,000 grant from the HFPA.
Awards shows have a spotty history when it comes to giving Lee his due—and that’s putting it mildly. In 1990, the year Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture, the Oscars notoriously snubbed Do the Right Thing. It was a moment many remembered in 2019, when Green Book beat out Lee’s BlacKkKlansman for the same award. As film writer and historian Mark Harris put it to Vanity Fair weeks before Green Book won Best Picture, “Driving Miss Daisy fit the template for the Academy in 1989, which is in many ways the template for 2019: prestige film directed from an award-winning play, starring a major actor and a major actress, about a subject that people could get behind.”
The Globes—which are not exactly known for being great Oscars predictors—at least nominated Lee for best director in 1990, and like the Academy they also gave Do the Right Thing’s screenplay a nod. The HFPA also gave Lee a best director nod in 2019 for BlacKkKlansman.
But this year, evidently, Lee and Da 5 Bloods have had no such luck. In addition to the film being shut out of the best drama and director categories, Delroy Lindo, whose complex, utterly raw performance seemed like a shoe-in, got snubbed as well. And although Chadwick Boseman received a posthumous Best Actor nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, his work as a supporting actor for Da 5 Bloods went ignored too.
Especially given the urgency that surrounded the film’s release—in the middle of global protests for Black lives—the shut-out feels like an egregious miscalculation. But then again, this is the Golden Globes; perhaps Da 5 Bloods might fare better at the Oscars, which will announce their nominations next month.
Either way, we must say. This snub? Not our cup of tea.