Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical The Fabelmans and the understated Irish-era play The Banshees of Inisherin took top honors at the Golden Globe Awards, on a night that saw the event return to television and squarely address the controversy surrounding the his absence from television resulted in 2022.
Reminding stars returning to this year’s 80th Globes of the scandal that temporarily knocked the show off television, host Jerrod Carmichael kicked off the program by introducing himself as “the black face of an embattled white organization.”
The Globes returned to NBC this year after the network halted the show in 2022 after a Los Angeles Times report citing a lack of diversity within the organization that presents it, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., and alleged ethical failings by its members had uncovered.
“I’m going to tell you why I’m here: I’m here because I’m black,” Carmichael said in an opening monologue that elicited uneasy laughter from the Beverly Hilton Hotel audience.
The HFPA responded to public criticism when the story broke in 2021 by enacting various reforms. Hollywood has cautiously resumed celebrations, in part hoping that Globes recognition will offer an advantage in what appears to be an open Oscar race.
As for the design of what will break through at the Oscars when those nominations are announced on January 24, two films that barely made a splash at the box office have outstripped popular competitors like Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top” outperformed Gun: Maverick” in the film voting. Due to its proximity to the Oscars, this is invariably the most closely watched aspect of the awards ceremony leading up to it.
The Globes are unique in that they split their highest film awards into two parts. The Fabelmans won both Best Drama and Spielberg, his third Globe as a director, while Banshees of Inisherin won Best Musical or Comedy, as well as writer Martin McDonagh and star Colin Farrell.
Carmichael joked about only taking the money for the entertainment, but concluded by saying he took the job in part to provide a celebration for the entertainers in the room he admired.
Notable for the controversy: Five of the first seven awards for performers went to people of color. These included Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan for sci-fi comedy Everything Everywhere All at Once and Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the Marvel sequel. Both films were widely popular, in contrast to the more narrowly skewed art house fares that dominated most film categories.
Honored for his comeback role after a long hiatus from acting, Quan expressed his gratitude to Spielberg, who cast him as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Bassett spoke about the late Chadwick Boseman and how the films were a part of his legacy.
Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams were also recognized for Best Comedy Winner, ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary, the rare series on a television network to break into the awards arena. Among dramas, Zendaya received another award for HBO’s gritty teen drama Euphoria.
From a production standpoint, the ceremony often felt chaotic, rushed through the final hour and still lasting about 20 minutes over its planned three-hour window.
That was partly due to the long-windedness, at least by the rules of award show etiquette, of the honorees, who found early on that they’d ignore efforts to “play them out” with musical cues and just move forward with their speeches and thanks. In Yeoh’s case, the well-known action star pointed out that she could beat up the piano player if she had to.
Comprised of international journalists, the HFPA has traditionally favored European talent, a trend that’s generally less evident this year. Farrell won for “Banshees” and Cate Blanchett for her role as the commanding conductor in “Tár”. Austin Butler was honored for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in the biopic Elvis.
Netflix also clinched a win over Disney in the Animated Films category with Guillermo del Toros Pinocchio, a stop-motion version of the story.
In TV categories, Globes voters doled out the riches, with HBO taking home four, including Best Series and Limited Series awards for “House of the Dragon” and “The White Lotus.” ABC called for three thanks to Abbott and FX a pair, with one each for Netflix, Apple TV+, Hulu and Paramount Network.
Carmichael’s introductions included a joke about Tom Cruise returning his Golden Globes amid the controversy, drawing a muted reaction when he made a veiled reference to the actor’s ties to Scientology.
Eddie Murphy delivered a low-key speech at the Cecil B. DeMille awards ceremony before closing with a joke about Will Smith’s slap in the face at the Oscars, one of several comments on the night that called for expletives.
Speaking at the TV Career Awards ceremony, Glee and American Horror Story producer Ryan Muprhy spoke of his mission to bring LGBTQ characters to the big screen and “to take the invisible, the unloved, and make them heroes make it, which I’ve always longed to see, but never in pop culture.”
The event also included a recorded message from Ukraine’s President Vlodymyr Zelensky, who made a similar appearance at the Grammy Awards in April.