Voices: The Golden Globes did not hold back for their return to television

The Golden Globes ceremony returned to television on Tuesday (12 January). Last year, NBC opted not to air the ceremony in support of boycotts of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), after it was reported that it did not include a single Black member. At the time, NBCUniversal said in a statement it believed the HFPA was “committed to meaningful reform”, “however, change of this magnitude takes time and work, and we feel strongly that the HFPA needs time to do it right.” The network expressed the hope that “the organization [would execute] on its plan”, and that it would “be in a position to air the show in January 2023.”

Those conditions were apparently met to NBC’s satisfaction, as the Golden Globes returned to the network with full fanfare. Well, almost full. Several high-profile nominees, including eventual winners Zendaya and Cate Blanchett, were not present at the ceremony. Comedian Jerrod Carmichael took on hosting duties and delivered an acclaimed opening monologue – the “best monologue in a long time,” according to Time magazine.

He addressed the ceremony’s circumstances head-on. “This show, the Golden Globe awards, did not air last year because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – which, I won’t say they were a racist organization, but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd died,” he said. “So do with that information what you will.”

Carmichael said he had misgivings about accepting the offer to host. In doing so, he revealed how much he was paid for the evening – $500,000 – and said that he was eventually advised to “put on a good suit and take them white people’s money.”

His monologue provided the biting, uncompromising start the ceremony needed. From there, the evening had its share of unexpected, daring moments. Carmichael, referencing the three Golden Globes previously returned by Tom Cruise, also in support of the HFPA boycotts, quipped: “I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige.” Shelly Miscavige is married to David Miscavige, the leader of Scientology – of which Cruise is a high-profile member.

Regina Hall provided one of the standout moments of the evening when accepting an award on behalf of Kevin Costner. She could not maintain her composure while reading the teleprompter that explained his absence, which was due to the storms currently hitting California. “Kevin Costner, he so much wanted to–” she started, then laughed. “I always like how they write this,” she said. “He so much wanted to be here – I mean, I’m sure he did.” She read the part about the “unprecedented weather and flooded” that meant Costner had to “shelter in place in Santa Barbara.” “This is a sad story,” she joked. “Let’s pray, everyone.”

In a more serious tone, Hall added: “We pray and hope that everyone affected by these storms remains safe, and I’m going to accept this award right there on your behalf, Kevin.” (Costner won Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama, for his work in Yellowstone.)

Perhaps the best reason to skip the ceremony came from Amanda Seyfried, who could not make it because she is currently “deep in the process of creating a new musical.” (The musical in question quickly became a hot topic on Twitter.) Nevertheless, Seyfried won Best Performance in a Limited or Anthology Series or Television Film for her turn as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout – so good it caused Jennifer Lawrence to back out of playing Holmes herself in an upcoming movie.

The evening delivered its share of emotional moments, too. Ke Huy Quan won Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Jennifer Coolidge took home Best Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Television Film for The White Lotus.

“I had such big dreams and expectations as a younger person, but what happens is they get sort of fizzled by life,” she said. “And I thought I was going to be queen of Monaco, even though someone else did it. … I just want to say, [White Lotus creator] Mike White, you have given me hope. Even if this is the end, you’ve sort of changed my life in a million different ways. My neighbors are speaking to me. I was never invited to one party on my hill, and now everyone’s inviting me.”

It was a zany ceremony reminiscent of years past, but perhaps more honest, and at times more candid. And, after a couple of years of Zoom ceremonies and reduced attendance due to Covid, it certainly brought back some true Hollywood energy.