January 18, 2022

On Sunday, January 9th, the kick-off for the 2022 award season, the Golden Globe Awards, was live-tweeted from the Beverly Hilton. A string of controversies surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s (HFPA) lack of diversity – there were no black members among its 87 voting members prior to 2021 – and alleged unethical practices led to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times and ended with NBC pulling the plug on the award show.

Nevertheless, even as an event mired with controversy, there were emblems of light and among them was NYFA Musical Theatre alum, Ilda Mason.

Ilda Mason (right) in Steven Speilberg’s West Side Story

West Side Story swept the Golden Globes with four wins including Best Musical or Comedy Motion Picture. For many, it came as a surprise considering that the original Broadway musical West Side Story and the 1961 film adaptation have been plagued with controversy for their misrepresentation of Puerto Ricans and Latinos, use of brown face and exploitative plot origins. However, NYFA Guest Speaker Steven Spielberg managed to breathe new life into the show with a lead cast of fresh, new faces; with this new adaptation of the Sondheim classic, Speilberg ushered in the next-generation of triple-threat Latinx actors, dancers and singers. One of them being NYFA alum Ilda Mason.

Ilda graduated from NYFA’s Musical Theatre Program in 2015. After graduating, Ilda went on to perform in Peter Pan, The Beauty and the Beast, A Chorus Line, Hello Dolly, Legally Blonde, Gloria Estefan’s On Your Feet! Before landing a role in Ivo van Hove’s Broadway revival of West Side Story in 2020. Off the heels of her Broadway run, Ilda was cast as Luz, a member of the sharks in Spielberg’s on-screen revival. Ilda Mason and her cast won big on Sunday night taking home Best Comedy or Musical Motion Picture, Best Director of Motion Picture (Steven Speilberg), Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical (Rachel Zegler) and Best Supporting Actress (Arianna Debose).

Other notable wins of the evening were MJ Rodriguez’s (Pose) win for Best Television Actress in a Drama Series, making it Rodriguez’s first win and making her the first trans actress to win a Golden Globe. After the announcement on Twitter, MJ took to Instagram live to react to her win. She tearfully expressed her gratitude, stating “This is for the LGBTQAI, Black, Latina, Asian [communities], the many multi beautiful colors of the rainbow… This is not just for me, this is for y’all. This is the door that opens for y’all.”

In addition to MJ’s historic win, was Oh Yeong-su’s win for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. The seasoned theater actor from South Korea, who won and broke our hearts in Squid Game, took home South Korea’s very first Golden Globe.

Squid Game was created in 2008 by Hwang Dong-hyuk but was shelved by Netflix for 10 years before it was given the green light in 2018. The show went on to be Netflix’s most streamed series after only 17 days with over 100 million views world-wide. Demonstrating that Netflix, led by NYFA Guest Speaker Ted Sarandos, is trailblazing and pushing boundaries at home and abroad.

NYFA extends a warm congratulations to Ilda Mason, Steven Speilberg and Ted Sarandos for their wins!

Please note: NYFA does not represent that these are typical or guaranteed career outcomes. The success of our graduates in any chosen professional pathway depends on multiple factors, and the achievements of NYFA alumni are the result of their hard work, perseverance, talent and circumstances.