We all know her best as Downton Abbey’s resilient and compassionate Anna Bates, but Joanne Froggatt proved at Sunday’s 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards that her words can have just as much impact in person as they do onscreen.
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, Froggatt faced stiff competition in the category, including Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Michelle Monaghan (True Detective), Allison Janney (Mom) and the formidable Kathy Bates (American Horror Story: Freak Show), whom Froggatt acknowledged saying she had just had a “moment” while meeting her. It was with a poignant combination of humility, excitement and respect that she accepted her statuette and marked her momentous win.
Clutching her well-earned award and addressing the crowd as one of the night’s first winners, Froggatt balanced a celebratory tone with acknowledgement of the weighty subject manner her character faced in Downton’s fourth season. Anyone who watched Anna’s emotionally charged and controversial arc last year, as she struggled with the reality and aftermath of a rape at the hands of a visiting valet, was well aware of the humanity that Froggatt brought to a harrowing storyline.
Though there were some who criticized it, many hailed the writers’ decision to tackle the subject as both historically important and enduringly relevant, and Froggatt’s stirring performance was widely praised. After making her way to the stage, Froggatt delivered a moving acceptance speech, in part dedicated to survivors of sexual violence, that resonated far beyond the halls of the Beverly Hilton, with online support and reaction quickly spreading on social media.
“I’d just like to say ‘I heard you,’ and I hope. . .you feel the world hears you.”
Delighted for Jo Frogatt @brendancoyle99 please give her my love (I’m not calling her mrs Bates though!) xx
— Maria Doyle Kennedy (@mariadkennedy) January 12, 2015
— Joanne Froggatt (@JoFroggatt) January 12, 2015
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 12, 2015
— VisitBritain (@VisitBritain) January 12, 2015
— BAFTA (@BAFTA) January 12, 2015
“After this storyline aired, I received a small number of letters from survivors of rape, and one woman summed up the thoughts of many by saying she wasn’t sure why she’d written, but she just felt in some way she wanted to be heard,” Froggatt said during her acceptance speech.
“I’d just like to say ‘I heard you,’ and I hope saying this so publicly means in some way, you feel the world hears you.”
Of course, she also took the opportunity to thank family, friends and her fellow Downtonites. With the series also up for Best Drama Series, Froggatt was joined at the ceremony by costars Laura Carmichael and Allen Leech, though she ended up being the show’s sole winner of the night.
It wasn’t the first time that Downton has been chosen for one of the evening’s top honours, as season 2 got the nod for Best Television Mini-Series and Season 3 was nominated for Best Television Series – Drama, but lost to Homeland. Downton has also been honoured numerous times for everything from its breathtaking costumes to its fantastic score.
Froggatt was not, however, the first individual from the show to win a statuette. Maggie Smith’s withering glances and acerbic delivery as the Dowager Countess has earned her several nominations and wins including a 2013 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.
And, with its fifth season currently airing, you can be certain that there will plenty more accolades to come. Catch up on or relive the delicious drama of Downton Abbey weekdays at 5pm ET/2pm PT, including the riveting fourth season starting Wednesday, Jan. 21.
VisionTV will present the Canadian premiere of Downton Abbey Season 5 Wednesdays at 9pm ET/6 PT starting April 9.
For complete coverage of the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards including favourite moments, red carpet looks and more, visit EverythingZoomer.com.