The Golden Globe Awards, Hollywood’s so-called biggest party that regularly drew 18 million television viewers, was reduced to a live blog Sunday night for its 79th edition.
The embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association proceeded with its film awards Sunday night without a telecast, nominees, a red carpet, a host, press or even a live stream. Instead, members of the HFPA and some recipients of the group’s philanthropic grants gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for a 90-minute private event, announcing the names of the film and television winners on the organization’s social media feeds.
Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” won several big awards, for best picture comedy or musical, best actress for Rachel Zegler and best-supporting actress for Ariana DeBose.
Netflix’s gothic Western “The Power of the Dog” was named best picture drama, along with other honors for Jane Campion’s direction and Kodi Smit-McPhee’s supporting performance.
Other film winners included Will Smith for “King Richard,” Nicole Kidman for “Being the Ricardos” and Andrew Garfield for “tick, tick…BOOM!” The Japanese film “Drive My Car,” also a critics’ group darling, got the best non-English language motion picture, while “Encanto” won for animation.
Though announcing winners on social media might seem like a straightforward task, those following along on Twitter only might have been somewhat confused at times. The tweets often left out exactly which project a person had won for.
To announce the winner for best actor, motion picture musical or comedy, the organization tweeted, “It takes 43 muscles to smile. Thanks for the workout Andrew Garfield and congratulations for taking home the #GoldenGlobe for Best Actor—Motion Picture—Musical/Comedy,” failing to mention that the award was for his turn in “tick, tick…BOOM!”
Other times, the tweets were just downright baffling. In announcing the “West Side Story” win, the group initially wrote, “If laughter is the best medicine @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you” about the drama that’s full of death and tragedy. They later deleted the tweet and wrote a new one about “music” being the best medicine.
Television winners included: Sarah Snook and Jeremy Strong for “Succession,” which won best television drama, Jean Smart for “Hacks,” which also won best television comedy, Jason Sudeikis for “Ted Lasso,” Kate Winslet for “Mare of Easttown,” O Yeong-su for “Squid Game” and Michael Keaton for “Dopesick.” Barry Jenkins’ “The Underground Railroad” got best-limited series. The group said on its website that “Pose” star Michaela Jaé Rodriguez became the first trans person to win a Golden Globe.
None of the winners appeared to be present at the event, nor did they immediately comment on their awards.
Jamie Lee Curtis, however, chimed in with a video message shared on the group’s Twitter, talking about the HFPA’s charitable work.
“I just wanted to honor and stand with them in this continued advocacy,” Curtis said. “I’m proud to be associated with them in this venture.”
The HFPA enlisted leaders of the groups it has given grants to to announce the winners. Arnold Schwarzenegger chimed in with a video message as well, thanking the group for recognizing him as the “new star of the year” in 1977.
That the organization proceeded with any kind of event came as a surprise to many in Hollywood. The HFPA came under fire after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed in February ethical lapses and a stunning lack of diversity — there was not a single Black journalist in the 87-person group. Studios and PR firms threatened to boycott. Tom Cruise even returned his three Golden Globes, while other A-listers condemned the group on social media.
They pledged reform last year, but even after a public declaration during the 78th show, their longtime broadcast partner NBC announced in May that it would not air the 2022 Golden Globes because “Change of this magnitude takes time and work.” The broadcaster typically pays some $60 million for the rights to air the show, which ranks among the most-watched awards shows behind the Oscars and the Grammys.
Though often ridiculed, Hollywood had come to accept the Golden Globes as a legitimate and helpful stop in a competitive awards season. And for audiences around the world, it was a reasonably lively night, with glamorous fashion, major stars, the promise of champagne-fueled speeches, and hosts — from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to Ricky Gervais — that regularly poked fun at the HFPA.
After the NBC blow, it was widely expected that the HFPA would simply sit the year out. Hollywood studios and publicists also largely opted out from engaging with the group as they had in years past, with some declining to provide screeners of films for consideration. When nominees were announced last month, few celebrated publicly.
The press association claims that in the months since its 2021 show, it has remade itself. The group has added a chief diversity officer; overhauled its board; inducted 21 new members, including six Black journalists; brought in the NAACP on a five-year partnership; and updated its code of conduct.