In the 54 years since Diahann Carroll (“Julia”) blazed a trail as the first Black female recipient of a TV Golden Globe, the list of small screen Black actresses who have won the favor of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has grown to include 12 more names, including 2023 comedic and dramatic champs Quinta Brunson (“Abbott Elementary”) and Zendaya (“Euphoria”). While this roster has long since covered TV movies and both continuing program genres, no Black woman has yet been awarded a Golden Globe for a limited series performance. There is a decent chance of that soon changing, however, given the winning potential of possible 2024 Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress contenders Uzo Aduba (“Painkiller”) and Dominique Fishback (“Swarm”).
Possible Golden Globes newcomer Fishback stars on Amazon Prime Video’s “Swarm” as Dre Greene, a mentally unstable young woman whose unhealthy obsession with a Beyoncé-esque pop star drives a wedge between her and her foster sister, Ris (Chloe Bailey), whose sudden death causes Dre to snap and commit a string of murders. While Netflix’s “Painkiller” is, conversely, based on true events, Aduba’s character is a fictional composite one. The former “Orange is the New Black” (2015-2016) and “In Treatment” (2022) nominee’s fourth Golden Globe bid and potential first win would come for her portrayal of Edie Flowers, an unflappable prosecutor seeking justice for American opioid epidemic victims and their families by fighting against Purdue Pharma.
At this point in Golden Globes history, the only two Black women who have earned recognition for their lead turns on limited series are Regina King (“Seven Seconds,” 2019) and Cynthia Erivo (“Genius: Aretha,” 2022). They are the latest entrants on the Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress category’s list of Black nominees, which also includes telefilm stars Diana Ross (“Out of Darkness,” 1995), Alfre Woodard (“Miss Evers’ Boys,” 1997; “Holiday Heart,” 2001), Halle Berry (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” 2000; “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” 2006), S. Epatha Merkerson (“Lackawanna Blues,” 2006), Queen Latifah (“Life Support,” 2008; “Bessie,” 2016) and Kerry Washington (“Confirmation,” 2017).
At age 32, Fishback would supplant Berry (who was about eight months older on her first outing) as this category’s all-time youngest Black nominee. She or Aduba (who is 10 years her senior) would be the fifth Black recipient of this particular award, after Woodard (1998), Berry (2000), Merkerson (2006) and Latifah (2008). In a general sense, the only other Black performers who have been honored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their work on non-continuing programs are lead males Ving Rhames (“Don King: Only in America,” 1998) and Idris Elba (“Luther,” 2012) and supporting actors Louis Gossett Jr. (“The Josephine Baker Story,” 1992), Don Cheadle (“The Rat Pack,” 1999), Jeffrey Wright (“Angels in America,” 2004) and John Boyega (“Small Axe,” 2021).
Aside from Carroll, Brunson and Zendaya, the roster of Black women who have won lead Golden Globes for comedy or drama series consists of Gail Fisher (“Mannix,” 1973), Debbie Allen (“Fame,” 1983), Regina Taylor (“I’ll Fly Away,” 1993), Taraji P. Henson (“Empire,” 2016), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish,” 2017) and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (“Pose,” 2022). Fisher, who clinched a Best TV Supporting Actress trophy for the same show in 1971, still stands as that catch-all category’s only Black champion.
As of now, Aduba and Fishback hold the fifth and sixth place slots on Gold Derby’s odds-based Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actress predictions list with the respective support of 51% and 41% of the hundreds of users who have entered their picks. Those running ahead of them in the race are fellow miniseries stars and potential category first-timers Ali Wong (first place, “Beef”), Bel Powley (second, “A Small Light”) and Rachel Weisz (fourth, “Dead Ringers”), as well as possible returning contender Riley Keough (third, “Daisy Jones & the Six”; formerly of 2016’s “The Girlfriend Experience”).
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