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'Nomadland' makes Globes history, as virtual gala honors late Boseman

The late Chadwick Boseman won best actor for 1920s blues drama 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom', six months after his death from cancer at age 43.

FILE: US actor Chadwick Boseman attends Netflix's "The Black Godfather" premiere at Paramount Studios Theatre in Los Angeles on 3 June 2019. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES, United States - US road movie Nomadland made Golden Globes history on Sunday as Chloe Zhao became the first female director to win the awards' top prize for best drama with her film about a generation of marginalized Americans roaming the West in vans, which now motors into Oscars pole position.

Zhao also bagged the best director Globe, making her only the second woman to do so in the history of Hollywood's traditional awards season opener, which was a mainly virtual ceremony due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The late Chadwick Boseman won best actor for 1920s blues drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, six months after his death from cancer at age 43, in a night of emotional moments interspersed with technical glitches, awkward jokes and a row over the lack of diversity among event organizers.

Semi-fictional film _Nomadland _stars Oscar winner Frances McDormand alongside a rag-tag bunch of non-actors who truly live on the open road, working mostly menial jobs to scrape by off the grid.

"I especially want to thank the nomads who shared their stories with us," said Beijing-born Zhao, 38.

"For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives -- this is for you. We don't say goodbye. We say see you down the road," she added later on, after the film won top honors.

Usually a star-packed party that draws Tinseltown's biggest names to a Beverly Hills hotel ballroom, this pandemic edition of the Globes was broadcast from identical sets at the Beverly Hilton and New York's Rainbow Room, with essential workers and a few A-list presenters among the few in attendance.

The night's most poignant moment came with Boseman's win.

"He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifice," said his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepting on his behalf.

"He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history," she added.

'ONE UNZIPPING'

Unlike the Oscars, the Globes split most movie categories into drama and "musical or comedy."

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, a sequel about the fictional Kazakh journalist, won the comedy section's best film and best actor prizes for creator Sacha Baron Cohen.

"Hold on, Donald Trump is contesting the result. He claimed a lot of dead people voted, which is a very rude thing to say about the HFPA," joked Cohen, referring to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organizes the Globes.

Cohen also had a couple of zingers for Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was tricked into a fake hotel room "interview" with an attractive and flirtatious young woman, played by nominee Maria Bakalova.

"I mean, who can get more laughs out of one unzipping? It's just incredible," asked Cohen.

Best comedy actress went to Rosamund Pike for Netflix's dark thriller I Care A Lot.

"I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have to be in a room with Rudy Giuliani," said Pike.

The biggest upset came as Andra Day won best drama actress for her portrayal of the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

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