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Golden Globes Embrace Changing Face of Television (Analysis)

Golden Globe voters went out of their way to embrace the new diversity in television — both in human and technological terms.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. spread the wealth among upstart digital players, lower-profile shows and actors in roles that embody minority groups and subcultures that face bias and discrimination in mainstream society. In what is believed to be a first, both the comedy and drama series winners were led or co-led by female showrunners.

Amazon’s “Transparent” landed historic win for best comedy and lead comedy actor for Jeffrey Tambor for his tour de force work as a family man who comes out as transgender. The show was deeply personal for creator/showrunner Jill Soloway, who went through a similar experience with her own father.

As she dealt with the shock of her father’s revelation, “My second thought a couple moments later was ‘I think I have a TV show,’ ” Soloway said backstage.

Kevin Spacey beat tough competition in the drama actor race for Netflix’s “House of Cards” (a win that ended Spacey’s losing streak after eight career Globe nominations).

Spacey emphasized in his backstage remarks that the explosion of new channels, digital and linear, moving into original programming, is nothing short of a gift to the creative community.

“The more companies to step up and compete (with originals), the more writers are hired, the more actors are hired, the more directors that are hired,” he said. Spacey also made a point of hailing shows that he said paved the way for the current renaissance in television: “Hill Street Blues” and “The Sopranos.”

CW broke through for the first time in its nine-year history with a win for “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez. Backstage, the actress’ tears underscored the importance of her victory at a time when Latino performers are making big gains in film and TV.

“For me the win meant everything and a lot more than just me,” Rodriguez gushed. ‘When I look into that screen and (realize) we change the way we feel about ourselves, we change our perception of ourselves by the way art has created such a ripple effect.”

“The Affair” and “Transparent” were this year’s newbie series to be showered with affection by Globe voters. “The Affair’s” drama actress winner Ruth Wilson triumphed over far more seasoned players including her Showtime colleague Claire Danes and last year’s winner, Robin Wright of “House of Cards.”

“Affair” co-creator/exec producer Sarah Treem noted the significance of the high number of female showrunners among this year’s comedy and drama series nominees. “It’s not an accident,” she said. “What it indicates is that women have been waiting in the wings for a long time. And we’re ready to take center-storyteller-stage when given the opportunity.”

SundanceTV’s low-profile “The Honorable Woman” scored a trophy for Maggie Gyllenhaal for her role in a mini that was much praised for its nuanced look at Middle East politics. Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey’s” hard-working ladies’ maid Anna Bates, was another underdog winner in the supporting drama category against newer and buzzier competition.

The Globes competition set up a horserace between FX’s “Fargo” and HBO’s “The Normal Heart” that was muted at last year’s Emmy Awards because of the two competed in separate categories for movies and miniseries — and both prevailed.

In the head-to-head fight at the Globes, “Fargo” and its star Billy Bob Thornton prevailed for miniseries/movie and lead actor. But “Normal Heart” was recognized with a win for Matt Bomer as supporting actor. Thornton and Bomer had been favorites at the Emmys but were upstaged when Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman scored surprise wins for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.”

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