The odds were stacked against the two Latina nominated for Golden Globes this year, Knives Out‘s Ana de Armas and Hustlers‘ Jennifer Lopez. There was hope that one of them would triumph in their respective category. After all, the Rian Johnson whodunit has been a box office smash and the Lorene Scafaria-directed film has earned JLo the best reviews of her career. Alas, just as Latinos across the board were mostly shut out on nomination morning (even in the Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language field!), de Armas and Lopez ended up empty-handed on a night that saw plenty of speeches tackle everything from climate change to women’s reproductive rights and which saw the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowing Best Motion Picture honors to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Best Comedy or Musical) and Sam Mendes’ 1917 (Best Drama). It was a stark reminder that Hollywood struggles to honor Latinx filmmakers and talent when there’s not a Latin American like a Cuarón, an Iñárritu or a del Toro picture in contention. Indeed, Awkwafina (for The Farewell) and Ramy Youssef (for Hulu’s Ramy) were the only nonwhite acting winners of the night: that’s across 14 different performance categories!
That said, de Armas and Lopez each got a chance to shine on stage and show off arguably two of the most showstopping looks of the night. The former, in a sparkly navy blue dress, presented the clip of Knives Out alongside Daniel Craig while the latter, wrapped up in a big golden bow, presented the Best Score award next to Paul Rudd. But neither’s presentation could compare to the banter we got to witness from Salma Hayek.
Hayek, alongside her Like a Boss co-star Tiffany Haddish, did a bit about people complaining about one of their hard-to-understand accents. The first punchline (ahead of Michelle Williams’ win for Fosse/Verdon) was Haddish promising to try and perfect her own enunciation. The second came soon after they both cheered Williams’ powerful speech on a woman’s right to choose, and had Hayek all but butchering her teleprompter script, getting a “Muy bueno! I understood everything you said!” from the Girls Trip actress and a “So did Sofía Vergara!” quip from the Mexican superstar. And while Hayek’s delivery proved she is a good sport (and a fantastic comedian) it was an unfortunate retread of a joke we’ve heard too many times at these kinds of awards shows.
More appropriate for a night hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was the message South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho offered upon accepting an award for Parasite: “Once you overcome the one inch tall barrier of subtitles, you’ll be introduced to so many more amazing films.” It was a message of welcome and inclusion that reminded viewers to look beyond borders and to see in cinema a truly universal language.