It Was a Good Night for Women Over 50 at the Golden Globes

From Angela Bassett to Michelle Yeoh to Jennifer Coolidge, they stole the show.

Michelle Yeoh holding her golden globe

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It was tough to know if the 2023 Golden Globes would be worth watching. Last year's awards revealed the blatant and deeply rooted racism ingrained in The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. So, besides wanting to see a commitment to righting past wrongs, those who tuned in were just hoping for a handful of chuckles and maybe a beautiful moment or two. Leave it to the women (duh), and in particular, the women over 50, to deliver those triumphant, honest, and undeniably deserving moments.

Older women brought it last night. Not only did they look fierce, but they took home all the best awards, and they let their fiery, over 50, we-don’t-give-a-damn-anymore attitudes drop all the truth bombs while they were at it. If there were other memorable moments than these hot ladies cleaning up, we don’t remember them, and we don’t care.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Ryan Murphy’s acceptance speech was stunning and important. Eddie Murphy was legendary, as expected. But mostly, the over-50 women took center stage and made us all collectively realize they were actually why we tuned in, to begin with. We just didn’t know it until they started shining.

The first “hell yes” moment came when Angela Bassett’s name was called for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture. Her landmark win for playing Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever marked the first time an actor in a Marvel role was even nominated, let alone scoring the trophy. It’s hard not to be impressed by the fact that she managed to turn a superhero movie into awards gold, something none of her Marvel universe peers have been able to do. So, when Bassett sauntered on stage, quoted Toni Morrison, and touched on Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, she left us with chills — just like she did in the film. “We showed the world what Black unity looks like,” she said of making Wakanda Forever while, at the same time, grieving alongside her cast. “We just made history with this nomination and with this award. It belongs to all of you. All of us.”

Angela Bassett with golden globe

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Next up in inspiring moments came Michelle Yeoh, who won Best Actress for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Yeoh took the stage and immediately let us know that she had earned the honor, that she had things to say, and that she would not get off the stage until she had said every last one of them. She ripped into the piano player more than once for trying to play her off until the musician cheerfully gave up. Yeoh spoke about the culture shock of arriving in Hollywood as a young actress and the devastation of watching roles diminish as she aged. And, when she mentioned she had just turned 60, some jaws dropped the floor, adding to the moment's power. Even more incredible than her appearance (though her long blowout and sparkly navy gown were unmatched) was how passionately she claimed her moment while telling the world exactly who she is and where she came from.

Cementing the near-total domination of the night by women over 50, was none other than Jennifer Coolidge, who won Best Supporting for playing Tanya Mcquoid in The White Lotus. Jennifer was on stage earlier in the night, presenting an award with a perfectly executed standup routine. Her acceptance speech was funny, too (how could it not be?), but her most memorable words were as laugh-out-loud hilarious as they were heartfelt.

Coolidge didn’t hold back about the realities of being an aging actress in Hollywood. She recounted having no choice but to throw herself into whatever roles she landed. “There’s like five people here who kept me going with these little roles,” she said, tearfully and with gratitude. She didn’t just take the “little roles” she was given, though. Coolidge made them completely her own, then “milked” them for all they were worth. From roles like Stifler’s M.I.L.F. in American Pie to the sad hairdresser Paulette in Legally Blonde, she earned her place in Hollywood by saying “yes” to roles other actresses might’ve thought were beneath them — and then delivering her lines in way we’d find ourselves quoting for eons (“I’m takin’ the dog, dumbass!”). Jennifer Coolidge is an icon, and her role as Tanya, the depressed tourist and star of WL season two, was the culmination of years leaning into her cougar energy and never apologizing for it once. At 61, she managed to make it gold. 

Even though she wasn’t there to accept her award for Tár, Cate Blanchett won, too. By that time in the night, it became hard to deny that the 2023 Globes were a moment for women who’ve been around Hollywood for decades and never bothered to listen to the message that it was time for them to leave it.

The best part was that no one saw it coming. Awards could’ve easily gone to newcomers like Jenna Ortega for being a fierce little freak in Wednesday, or Aubrey Plaza for her effortlessly pissed-off vibe in The White Lotus, and no one would’ve thought to complain. These wins feel a bit more inspirational, though, perhaps because we know that the women who took them home have been working hard for decades, setting an example for unapologetically aging in Hollywood. The trophies they collected just drove home the point — that their stories, and all women's stories, still matter.

Don’t get me wrong, we love the Ana de Armas's and the Kaley Cuoco's of the world, but this year the Golden Globes were a moment for older actresses, and it felt triumphant. It felt right. Perhaps 2023 is the year we start valuing women who dare to grow old right before our very eyes. In Hollywood, unfortunately, that’s still a lot to ask. 

Either way, we may just bask in the glow of our over-50 favorites a little longer.

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