Controversy-hit Golden Globes returns after year off air

12 Jan

The 80th Golden Globes Awards aired on Tuesday, focused on winning back its relevance in Hollywood after it was shunned for a perceived lack of ethics and diversity.


In 2022, stars and studios boycotted the ceremony and long-time broadcasting partner NBC opted not to televise the awards. They demanded that it was time for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which chooses the winners, to undertake a "meaningful reform." This year the gala was held in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, under the backdrop of torrential rains, mudslides and flooding in southern California.

Who won? 

Steven Spielberg claimed the top honors including best director and best drama for his deeply personal film "The Fabelmans." "The Banshees of Inisherin," a tragic comedy on friendship, won the best musical/comedy film. Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio" won best animated feature, while "Argentina, 1985" won best non-English language film, beating out German contender "All Quiet on the Western Front."

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Austin Butler who played Elvis Presley in the biopic "Elvis" won best actor in drama. "House of the Dragon" won best drama, and "Abbott Elementary" claimed best comedy series for television. The action-packed Indian blockbuster "RRR," which has become a huge word-of-mouth hit in Hollywood, won for the best song. Eddie Murphy and Ryan Murphy accepted the career achievement award.

A reformative year

The host for the night, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, kicked off the show by addressing the controversy head on. "I'll tell you why I'm here. I'm here cause I'm Black," he said. The Globes plunged into controversy in 2021 when the Los Angeles Times exposed how the HFPA did not have a single Black member within its 87-person body. Separately, the New York Times also reported ethical lapses and gross salaries for members.

Under mounting pressure, the HFPA  made changes in the way it operates. Currently, it has 96 members, including six Black members and 103 non-member voters. "I won't say they were racist organization but they didn't have a single Black member until George Floyd died. So do with that information what you will," said Carmichael. NBC reworked its deal with the HFPA and live-streamed the show for the first time, this year.

Boycotts continue

Despite the changes, some stars continued to boycott the awards. Brendan Fraser, who was nominated for best actor for his performance in "The Whale," said that he will not participate in the ceremony. In 2018, Fraser revealed that Philip Berk, a longtime HFPA member had groped him in 2003. Berk, who is no longer with the HFPA, denied the allegations.

Tom Cruise, who returned three of his Golden Globes last year, and whose blockbuster "Top Gun: Maverick" was nominated for best picture in the drama category this year, also did not attend. Cate Blanchett who won the best drama actress for "Tar" also did not show up.

Other prominent winners not in attendance were Kevin Costner, Zendaya and Amanda Seyfried. In addition to the awards, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a taped message presented at the Globes said: "There will be no third World War. It is not a trilogy."


ns/rs (AP, Reuters)

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