The Golden Globes returned to the air Tuesday with a red carpet flush with celebrities and comedian Jerrod Carmichael as emcee, as the beleaguered award show sought to rekindle its pre-pandemic and pre-scandal glamour.
Carmichael kicked off the 80th Golden Globes from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, with little of the fanfare that usually opens such ceremonies. He dove straight into the issues that drove the Globes off television and led much of the entertainment industry to boycott the Hollywood Foreign Press Association after the group was revealed to have no Black members. Carmichael opened by asking the crowd to “be a little quiet here.”
“I am your host, Jerrod Carmichael,” said the “Rothanial” comedian. “And I’ll tell you why I’m here. I’m here ’cause I’m Black.
“I won’t say they were a racist organization,” he continued before sitting on the stage. “But they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will.”
The night’s first award went to Ke Huy Quan, the former child star of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” for best supporting actor in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” A clearly emotional Quan, who had left acting years before directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert cast him in their multiverse tale, thanked them for his second act.
“Thankfully, more than 30 years later, two guys thought of me,” said Quan. “They remembered that kid. And they gave me the opportunity to try again.”
Michelle Yeoh, the star of “Everything Everywhere At Once,” also won, for best actress in a comedy or musical. “Forty years,” Yeoh said. “Not letting go of this.”
Another Oscar frontrunner, Angela Bassett, won best supporting actress for her performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
“Weeping may come in the evening, but joy comes in the morning,” Bassett said, referring to the loss of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman.
The public school sitcom “Abbott Elementary” came in the lead TV nominee and took two early awards. Quinta Brunson, the show’s creator and star, won best actress in a comedy series, and Tyler James Williams won for his supporting role.
“It has resonated with the world in a way that I couldn’t even have imagined it would have,” said Brunson as she thanked the studios that backed her vision. “But let’s be real. I did imagine it. That’s why I sold it to you.”
Colin Farrell, who first won a Globe in 2009 for his performance in Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges” in 2009, won best actor in a drama in his reteaming with McDonagh and co-star Brendan Gleeson in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Farrell thanked McDonagh, much of the cast, his children and the film’s donkey, Jenny.
There were upsets. “Naatu Naatu” from the Telugu sensation “RRR, ” won best song over the likes of Rihanna and Taylor Swift. Jeremy Allen White of “The Bear” beat out Donald Glover (“Atlanta”), Bill Hader (“Barry”), Steve Martin (“Only Murders in the Building”) and Martin Short (“Only Murders in the Building”) to win best actor in a comedy or musical series.
Fresh off her dramatic “White Lotus” finale, Jennifer Coolidge spoke at length on the just-as-deadly risks of presenting an award on waxed floors.
The red carpet (colored gray this year) was just as crammed with decked-out stars as ever ahead of the Tuesday ceremony, including Bassett in glittering silver and Lily James in a long-flowing red dress. Whether viewers were also returning, too, remains to be seen. The Globes have traditionally been a looser, more uninhibited appetizer to the Academy Awards, but this year, storm clouds surround the award show.
Stars and studios boycotted last year’s ceremonywhich NBC chose not to televise, saying the Hollywood Foreign Press Association needed time to make “meaningful reform” after reports revealed the group’s lack of diversity and a litany of ethical indiscretions. A year later, much – though not all – of Hollywood appeared ready to party, again.
The Globes also unfolded against the backdrop of heavy rains that have lashed Southern California and caused flooding up and down coastal areas and in the mountains outside Los Angeles. Prolonged rainfall, exceeding a foot since Sunday in some regions, caused flooding, mudslides and evacuations.
The broadcast from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California, for the first time was livestreamed, on NBCUniversal’s Peacock, in addition to airing on NBC. When the Globes were on the brink, NBC reworked its deal with the HFPA, putting the awards on a one-year contract and moving the show to Tuesday from its regular Sunday night spot.
That meant the Globes were essentially put on a one-year audition to recapture their awards-season perch and relevance to a Hollywood that seemed ready to abandon them for good.
But much of the industry turned out Tuesday. Eddie Murphy and Ryan Murphy were set to receive tributes. Sean Penn was also set to introduce a message from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The Globes were plunged into chaos shortly before a largely remote pandemic 2021 awards show when a Los Angeles Times report revealed that the HFPA, then numbering 87 members, had no Black members. A separate New York Times report showed that the group — an often ridiculed collection of little-known foreign journalists based in Los Angeles — paid its members some $3 million in annual salaries, and detailed a litany of ethical lapses in how the organization regularly interacted with potential nominees.
Under mounting pressure, the HFPA pledged to reform, diversified its membership and changed some of the ways it operates. It now has 96 members, including six Black members, along with 103 nonmember voters. Billionaire Todd Boehly purchased the Globes through his Eldridge Industries, and has begun turning the nonprofit group into a for-profit company.
The reaction to the Globe nominations last month was muted, with few stars publicly celebrating. One nominee stated clearly that he would not attend: Brendan Fraser. Although nominated for best actor for his performance in “The Whale,” Fraser said he would not participate in the Globes. In 2018, Fraser said he was groped in 2003 by longtime Hollywood Foreign Press Association member Philip Berk. Berk, who is no longer an HFPA member, denied it.
Also not in attendance was Tom Cruise, whose “Top Gun: Maverick” was nominated for best picture, drama. Cruise famously returned his three Golden Globe awards after the HFPA revelations.
As it has for most award shows, viewership to the Globes telecast has cratered. After the 2020 awards were watched by 18.4 million, the 2021 edition managed just 6.9 million, according to Nielsen. Still, the Globes remain a valuable marketing tool for awards contenders, propping up ads for films in the long stretch between the holidays and the Oscars, which air March 12. Some of this season’s top contenders, including Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and Todd Fields’ “Tár,” have struggled to attract large audiences.
Several of last year’s biggest box-office hits were in the mix, though. Along with “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Tár” and “The Fabelmans,” the nominees for best picture, drama, include James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” and Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.”
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