The Golden Globes returned to the air Tuesday with a red carpet flush with celebrities, comedian Jerrod Carmichael as a hesitant emcee and numerous trophies for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Abbott Elementary,” 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 plunged 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.”
On a soggy night following punishing, prolonged rains that have lashed Southern California, the 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.
“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. The Malaysian-born Yeoh was just the second female actor of Asian descent to win in the category, after her “Crazy Rich Asian” costar Awkwafina, who won for “The Farewell” in 2020. “Forty years,” the 60-year-old Yeoh said. “Not letting go of this.”
Possibly Yeoh’s stiffest competition at the Academy Awards, Cate Blanchett of “Tár,” won best actress on the drama side. Blanchett, in production, wasn’t in attendance to pick up her forth Globe.
Steven Spielberg, nominated 14 times by the Globes for best director, won the honor for the third time for his autobiographical “The Fabelmans.” The filmmaker began by thanking his three sisters, his late father and his late mother, Leah Adler (played by Michelle Williams in the film). “She is up there kvelling about this right now,” said Spielberg.
Angela Bassett, a likely Oscar frontrunner, 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, referencing the loss of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman.
Best actor was an upset. Austin Butler won for his performance in Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.” The favorite in the category has arguably been Brendan Fraser for “The Whale.” Ahead of the Globes, Fraser said he would not attend because “my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite.” In 2018, Fraser said he was groped in 2003 by longtime HFPA member Philip Berk. Berk, who is no longer an HFPA member, denied it.
The public school sitcom “Abbott Elementary” came in the lead TV nominee and took two awards early. 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 comedy in his reteaming with McDonagh and co-star Brendan Gleeson in “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Farrell thanked McDonagh (who also won best original screenplay), much of the cast, his kids and the film’s donkey, Jenny.
“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 ceremony Tuesday, including Bassett in glittering silver and Lily James in a long-flowing red dress. Whether viewers also returned remains to be seen.
Stars and studios boycotted last year’s ceremony, which NBC opted not to televise, saying the Hollywood Foreign Press Association needed time to make “meaningful reform.”
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 reportshowed 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.
Tom Cruise, whose “Top Gun: Maverick” was nominated for best picture, drama, famously returned his three Golden Globe awards after the HFPA revelations. Mid-show Tuesday, Carmichael came out with three trophies he said he found backstage, and suggested they be traded for Shelly Miscavige, the wife of the leader of the Church of Scientology.
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.
Reaction to the Globe nominations last month was muted, with few stars publicly celebrating. But much of the industry turned out Tuesday. Eddie Murphy and Ryan Murphy received tributes. Sean Penn introduced a message from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“There will be no third World War,” Zelenskyy said in a taped message, predicting Russia’s defeat. “It is not a trilogy.”
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 its awards-season perch and relevancy to a Hollywood that seemed ready to abandon them for good. For the first time, the broadcast was also livestreamed, on NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
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.