First-time nominee Andra Day won the Golden Globe award tonight for her first major acting role as legendary blues artist and civil rights icon Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day becomes the second Black woman to win this award since Whoopie Goldberg for 1985’s The Color Purple.
A visibly shaken Day beat out stiff competition including Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Vanessa Kirby (Pieces Of A Woman), Frances McDormand (Nomadland), and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman).
During her acceptance, Day acknowledged her fellow nominees. “I can believe I’m sitting here in the presence of giants… you inspire me so much.”
Day gave nods to director Lee Daniels who she called her “first love” as well as to the “amazing transformative, dynamic Billie Holiday who just transformed me with this role and with her presence and with her spirit.”
The United States vs. Billie Holiday is set in 1940s in New York City, and focused on how the federal government targeted Holiday to stop her from singing her controversial ballad “Strange Fruit.” Holiday’s defiance through music would help usher in the civil rights movement.
The film is currently available to stream on Hulu.