A revamped Golden Globes kicked off with Taylor Swift in the house, wins for Robert Downey Jr., Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Ali Wong, and Steven Yeun, and a rocky monologue from comedian Joy Koy.
Koy took the stage at the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom in Beverly Hills, California, to open the 81st Golden Globes. The Filipino American stand-up hit on some expected topics: Ozempic, Meryl Streep’s knack for winning awards and the long-running “Oppenheimer.” (“I needed another hour.”)
After one joke flubbed, Koy, who was named host after some bigger names reportedly passed, also noted how fast he was thrust into the job.
“Yo, I got the gig 10 days ago. You want a perfect monologue?” said Koy. “I wrote some of these and they’re the ones you’re laughing at."
The first awards
The night’s first award went to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for best supporting actress in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” Randolph has emerged as the favorite in the category for her performance as a grieving woman in the 1970s-set boarding school drama.
“Oh, Mary you have changed my life,” Randolph said of her character. “You have made me feel seen in so many ways that I have never imagined.”
That was quickly followed by a win for Robert Downey Jr., who won his third Globe for his supporting performance in “Oppenheimer.” It was the first head-to-head contest between Christopher Nolan’s epic and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” Downey’s closest competition was considered the Kenergy of Ryan Gosling.
“Golden Globes journalists, thank you for changing your game, therefore changing your name,” said Downey.
In the TV categories, Ali Wong and Steven Yeun both won for their performances in “Beef.” “Succession,” the lead television nominee, started off with a win for Matthew MacFadyen, who said he adored “every second playing the weird, the wonderful human grease stain that is Tom Wambsgans.”
“Beef” co-stars Ali Wong and Steven Yeun won after their first nominations. Wong thanked her ex-husband and father of her children in accepting the award. “It’s because of you that I’m able to be a working mother.”
Backstage, she quipped that she was unsure where she’ll put the gleaming trophy. “I have two little children and this is heavy, like a medieval weapon.”
For acting out the lives of the rich and famous, two actors won in their supporting role categories for T.V. Elizabeth Debicki was awarded a Golden Globe for her role as Princess Diana in “The Crown,” while Matthew Macfadyen won for his supporting role as Tom Wambsgans in “Succession.”
“I just adored every second playing the weird and wonderful human grease stain that is Tom Wambsgans and Tom Wambsgans CEO, I should say,” Macfadyen said in his speech. “God help us.
A new-look Globes
The carpet was red, but the color of the night might be pink.
“Barbie,” the year’s biggest hit, came in the lead nominee with nine nominations, including best comedy or musical. Margot Robbie, star and producer of the film, arrived dressed for the part, sporting a pink Armani dress modeled after Superstar Barbie from 1977.
But in any color, it was a new-look Golden Globes. The awards returned sans the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which was disbanded after years of diversity and ethical scandals. The Globes also lost its longtime network home. This year’s show is being broadcast on CBS in a one-year deal. Even the menu was flipped, with Nobu catering.
The revamped Globes had the challenge of moving past a tumultuous few years while recapturing the bubbly, irreverent spirit of all those shows hosted by Ricky Gervais or Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Those broadcasts helped turn the Globes into the third biggest award show of the year, after the Oscars and the Grammys. The Globes’ glitzy good time enabled many to overlook the impropriates of an award show that often doubled as a punchline.
“I think it’s on the upswing now,” Colman Domingo, nominated for his lead performance in the Bayard Rustin drama “Rustin,” said on the red carpet. “I think that they’ve had some soul searching and we all have to allow everyone to have soul searching.”
Changes to the categories
Making a late entrance was Taylor Swift, whose “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is nominated in the newly launched “cinematic and box-office achievement” award. Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, was with his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, played at nearby SoFi Stadium earlier in the afternoon.
That category, along with an award for stand-up comedy, were new additions this year. Also new: Most categories include six, not five, nominees.
You won’t see two awards usually handed out at the Globes: the Cecil B. DeMille Award or the Carol Burnett Award. Both of those tribute honors aren’t being given this year, though two new categories are: the blockbuster award and one for stand-up comedy special.
Gerwig’s “Barbie,” the biggest movie of the year with more than $1.4 billion in ticket sales, comes in the lead-nominee with nine nods, including best comedy or musical, best director for Gerwig, best actress for Robbie, best supporting actor for Ryan Gosling, and three original song nominations.
Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” is close behind with eight nominations, including for best drama, best director for Nolan and best actor for Cillian Murphy.
On the TV side, HBO’s “Succession” leads with nine nominations. “The Bear” and “Only Murders in the Building” follow with five apiece.
The Globes comeback
A few years ago, the Golden Globes were on the cusp of collapse.
After The Los Angeles Times reported that the HFPA had no Black members, Hollywood boycotted the organization. The 2022 Globes were all but canceled and taken off TV. After reforms, the Globes returned to NBC last year in a one-year deal, but the show was booted to Tuesday evening. With Jerrod Carmichael hosting, the telecast attracted 6.3 million viewers, a new low on NBC and a far cry from the 20 million that once tuned in.
The Golden Globes were acquired by Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions, which Penske Media owns, and turned into a for-profit venture. The HFPA (which typically numbered around 90 voters) was dissolved and a new group of some 300 entertainment journalists from around the world now vote for the awards.
Questions still remain about the Globes’ long-term future, but their value to Hollywood studios remains providing a marketing boost to awards contenders. (The Oscars won’t be held until March 10.) This year, because of the actors and writers strikes, the Globes are airing ahead of the Emmys, which were postponed to Jan. 15.
With movie ticket sales still 20% off the pre-pandemic pace and the industry facing a potentially rocky 2024 at the box office, Hollywood needs the Golden Globes as much as it ever has.
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