A year after going on mute – no red carpet, no stars, no television broadcast in 2022 – the Golden Globes returned to form at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles: open bottles of champagne, over time and overstretched, gesturing toward improving its longstanding diversity issues while taking shots from host Jerrod Carmichael.
The night’s big winners were The Fabelmans, Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical family drama that also won him best director, and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, while the network darling Abbott Elementary, HBO’s prequel House of the Dragon and The White Lotus took home the top TV awards.
The 80th annual Golden Globes, an image rehabilitation show of sorts after a February 2021 investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had no Black members and numerous ethical lapses, saw a diverse slate of winners, including an absent Zendaya for the second season of Euphoria; Abbott Elementary’s Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams; and the night’s first winner, Ke Huy Quan, who celebrated an emotional return to acting after child stardom in the 80s with Everything Everywhere All At Once. Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett became the first person to win a major individual acting award for a Marvel movie.
The HFPA had made some changes leading up to the over-three-hour broadcast from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, such as hiring a diversity consultant, who promptly resigned, and adding six Black journalists (among 21 new members) and a more diverse group of 103 non-member international voters. But Carmichael, a standup comic from North Carolina, stated the Globes’ situation plainly: “I’m only being asked to host this, I know, because I’m Black.”
“I won’t say they were a racist organization but they didn’t have a single Black member until George Floyd,” he said of the Hollywood Foreign Press. “So do with that information what you will.”
Carmichael joked – or didn’t, as his delivery throughout the night skewed understated, direct and unfazed – that he was “un-fireable” as the first Black host in the show’s 80-year history. He shrugged off the HFPA’s image rehabilitation efforts, recounting a one-on-one meeting with the group’s president, Helen Hoehne, that he rebuffed multiple times. “I took this job assuming they hadn’t changed at all,” he said. “I heard they got six new Black members, congrats to them, whatever, sure. But that’s not why I’m here. I’m here truly because all of you” – as in, the room full of “really incredible artists” whom he admired. “Regardless of whatever the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s past may be, this is an evening when we get to celebrate, and I think this industry deserves evenings like these.”
Carmichael didn’t ease up, drawing some awkward gasps later in the evening with a dig at Tom Cruise while introducing his Top Gun: Maverick costars Glenn Powell and Jay Ellis: “Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned … maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige,” he said, referring to the long-invisible wife of the Scientology leader David Miscavige.
True to Carmichael’s intention, the majority of the evening went to the celebration of talent, some of it overdue. “This is also for all the shoulders that I stand on, all who came before me, who look like me, and all who are going on this journey with me forward,” said Michelle Yeoh, winning best actress in a musical or comedy for her first leading role on a call sheet in a decades-long career. Best drama actor Austin Butler, for Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, dedicated his award, in part, to Lisa-Marie and Priscilla Presley, who were in attendance, as well as the King – “you are remembered and I will never forget.”
Ryan Murphy, accepting the Carol Burnett lifetime achievement award, used much of his speech time to celebrate the achievements of queer actors such as Billy Porter, MJ Rodriguez, Jeremy Pope and Matt Bomer as a “point of hope and progress” for LGBTQ+ viewers watching at home. “When I was a young person at home in the 70s watching The Carol Burnett Show, I never ever saw a person like me getting an award or even being a character on a TV show,” he said. “It’s hard being an LGBTQ kid in America.”
The ceremony also included a lifetime achievement award for Eddie Murphy, who offered his “blueprint” for success: “pay your taxes, mind your business, and keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.”
It being the Globes, there were some unforced errors, such as a persistent issues with playing speeches off too early, including a full music blast drowning out the acceptance speech for best non-English language film, Argentina, 1985. The issue drew several comments from onstage talent – “you can forget that piano,” said Colin Farrell, who won best supporting actor in a drama, while praising his Banshees of Inisherin co-star Kerry Condon. “I can beat you up, OK?” joked Yeoh. Jennifer Coolidge barreled through it twice, as a presenter and as an emotional winner for her supporting role in the second season of The White Lotus.
Other winners throughout the evening included Cate Blanchett for Tár, Jeremy Allen White for The Bear, Evan Peters for Ryan Murphy’s controversial Netflix hit Dahmer, Black Bird’s Paul Walter Hauser, Yellowstone’s Kevin Costner and The Dropout’s Amanda Seyfried. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio won for best animated film.
Spielberg took home best director and the night’s final award for The Fabelmans, a story based on his family.
“I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old. I put a lot of things in my way of this story,” he said. “Everybody sees me as a success story … But nobody really knows who we are until we’re courageous enough to tell everyone who we are.”