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Does ‘Emily in Paris’ deserve a Golden Globe nomination?

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Feb 04, 2021 8:24 am Updated Feb 05, 2021 1:41 am

Netflix series Emily in Paris scored two nominations in the 78th Golden Globe Awards, but its creators would rather cut the show off from the prestigious list.

On Wednesday night, Feb. 3, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) released its list of Golden Globe nominees for 2021 in NBC News’ Today. 

Emily in Paris was nominated Best TV Musical or Comedy alongside The Flight Attendant, Schitt’s Creek, The Great and Ted Lasso. The other was for Lily Collins in the category Best Actress, TV Series: Comedy against Kaley Cuoco, Elle Fanning, Catherine O’Hara, and Jane Levy. 

Unlike The Flight Attendant’s creator Chris Bohjalian and Eugene Levy of Schitt’s Creek, the writers of Emily in Paris found nothing (or at least little) to celebrate. So much so that one of the show’s writers, Deborah Copaken, wrote a piece she titled “I’m a writer on Emily in Paris. I May Destroy You deserved a Golden Globe nomination” on The Guardian.

Copaken began her narrative recalling how her mother broke the news of their nomination over the phone. To which she replied, “Huh. Weird,” before searching for it on Google twice “to be sure.”

Photo: Emily in Paris/Netflix

She admitted getting thrilled, but not enough to conceal her fury over the idea that the nomination could have been given to more substantial shows, particularly I May Destroy You.

She wrote, “Now, am I excited that Emily in Paris was nominated? Yes. Of course. I’ve never been remotely close to seeing a Golden Globe statue up close, let alone being nominated for one. But that excitement is now unfortunately tempered by my rage over Coel’s snub. That I May Destroy You did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything.”

I May Destroy You is a series on HBOMax that centers on Arabella, a young Black woman who seeks to rebuild her life after she was drugged and raped. It was written by  Michaela Coel, who also portrayed Arabella in the series.

Photo: I May Destroy You/HBOMax

Copaken has high regard for the show, knowing how influential it could be at a time when many U.S. residents are fighting for equality. 

“Emily in Paris aired a few months after I’d spent June and July marching for racial justice through the streets of New York with my kids. I could definitely see how a show about a white American selling luxury whiteness, in a pre-pandemic Paris scrubbed free of its vibrant African and Muslim communities, might rankle,” she said, adding, “Our show also aired soon after I read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and gobbled down Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, a work of sheer genius about the aftermath of a rape. ‘That show,’ I told everyone who would listen, ‘deserves to win all the awards.’ When it didn’t, I was stunned.”

Screenshot from Deborah Copaken on Twitter.

Copaken noted that the show resonates with her, especially because she herself is a sexual assault survivor.

I May Destroy You was not only my favorite show of 2020. It’s my favorite show ever. It takes the complicated issue of a rape – I’m a sexual assault survivor myself – and infuses it with heart, humor, pathos and a story constructed so well…” Copaken said.

“But my fury is not just about race. Or even about racial representation in art,” she continued. “Yes, we need art that reflects all of our colors, not just some. But we also need to give awards to shows (and music and films and plays and musicals) that deserve them, no matter the color of the skin of their creators.”

Photo: I May Destroy You/HBOMax

Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz of New York magazine The Cut likewise wrote a piece calling out HFPA for its “extra embarrassing” list of nominees this year. She titled it “What a Joke.”

She wrote, “Nominees for every category are majority white or the work of white creators (incding the limited-series category, for which Michaela Coel and I May Destroy You would have been submitted).”

Kurtz went on to enumerate creators, shows, and actresses that, for her, did not deserve to be discredited by the Golden Globes. 

“My hand will cramp if I write all the snubs out here, but here are some highlights: Neither Issa Rae nor Insecure received any nominations for a stunning season, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors were snubbed in dramatic acting categories (but the bad Jordan Peele show they starred in, Lovecraft Country, was nominated, so I guess there’s that). Sandra Oh was once again shunted aside for her Killing Eve co-star Jodie Comer, while Malcolm & Marie, in which Zendaya gave the performance of a lifetime, received zero nominations,” she said.

The Golden Globes will air live on Feb. 28 on NBC.

(A previous version of this story cited a certain Abby Govinda as a creator of the show, which she isn't)