Stanford alums make Golden Globe showing but walk away empty-handed

Jan. 10, 2022, 7:55 p.m.

Three Stanford affiliates, Issa Rae ’07, John Goldwyn ’81 and Reese Witherspoon, all received nominations at the 2022 Golden Globe awards, though none won their respective categories yesterday. Rae was nominated for “Best Television Actress — Musical/Comedy Series” in honor of her performance in “Insecure.” Witherspoon is a star in and executive producer for “Best Drama Series” nominee “The Morning Show,” and John Goldwyn ’81 is the executive producer for “Best Television Motion Picture” nominee “Dopesick.”

This group is not new to praise. Prior to 2021, Witherspoon has been nominated for nine Golden Globe awards, winning two. She has also won an Oscar and a Primetime Emmy. Goldwyn and Rae have been nominated for four and six Emmys, respectively.

A mix of scandal and COVID-19 left this year’s awards ceremony small and untelevised. NBCUniversal announced that it would not be broadcasting the Golden Globes after a news investigation exposed a lack of diversity among the Hollywood Foriegn Press Association and accused the organization of corruption. Then, in response to the Omicron surge, only a small number of boosted, masked and socially distanced individuals attended the event. 

While Rae and Goldwyn are both graduates, Witherspoon famously dropped out of Stanford. In the mid-90’s she studied English literature on the Farm for a year before leaving to pursue acting. The actress visited campus in 2017 to speak as part of the Graduate School of Business’s View from the Top series. She even stopped by her old dorm room on the trip, surprising its current tenant. 

“You’re the one responsible for your own path, so throw yourself at it,” said Witherspoon at the 2017 speaker event. 

Rae also recently visited campus; the last season of her HBO original series was filmed at Stanford. When Rae tweeted to thank the University for allowing the show on campus, Witherspoon tweeted back, writing that her iconic movie, “Legally Blonde,” was supposed to take place at Stanford, but had to pivot due to the school’s strict film and television rules. 

In contrast to Rae and Witherspoon’s acting fame, Goldwyn is famous for his off-screen work, having served as an executive producer for “Dexter” and producer on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.” He comes from an impressive entertainment family: His grandfather was one of the founders of MGM, his father is a famous producer known for hits like “Mystic Pizza,” and his brother Tony is an actor known for roles in “Scandal” and “King Richard.” Despite his impressive lineage, Goldwyn has emphasized achieving success based on his own merit, not his name — he started out working in Hollywood as a chauffeur and a mailroom worker.

“There was never anything about John that was entitled. If anything, it made him work harder,” said Sherry Lansing, an ex-chief executive of Paramount, in regards to Goldwyn’s family’s prevalence in the industry. 

All of these alums have exciting projects on the horizon. Goldwyn is serving as an executive producer to Discovery Plus’s first scripted drama, “Girls With Bright Futures,” which follows three Seattle mothers battling for their children’s admission to Stanford. Rae will star as a voice actor in “Spider-Man: Across the SpiderVerse (Part One),” and Witherspoon will be reprising her iconic role in “Legally Blonde 3.”

While delivering Stanford’s 2021 commencement address, Rae urged students to appreciate their Stanford community: “Build and tap into your community. The brilliant minds in this room will have a hand in shaping the culture, making the world better, leaving long-lasting legacies behind and doing a bunch of other important shit,” said Rae.

Kirsten Mettler '23 is an Executive Editor of The Stanford Daily. She is a former Managing Editor for Arts & Life and Desk Editor for News. Contact her at kmettler 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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