Tarnished Golden Globes Return to TV, and Hollywood Plays Along

Amid a few awkward moments, the industry’s stars mostly embraced the chance to accept film and TV trophies in hopes of a bump in business and award-season momentum.

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By Brooks Barnes

The companies behind the tarnished Golden Globe Awards pushed forward with a rehabilitation effort on Tuesday, with Hollywood luminaries making their way through a waterlogged Los Angeles to accept trophies for film and television achievements.

The stand-up comedian Jerrod Carmichael hosted the 80th Globes ceremony, foregoing the typical monologue (zingers about high-wattage attendees) for a subdued opening directly addressing the lack of diversity that kept the show off the air last year. In several moments, a quiet awkwardness fell over the room, as when he noted that the group that awards the Globes didn’t “have a single Black member until George Floyd died.”

“One minute, you’re making mint tea at home, the next you’re invited to be the Black face of an embattled white organization,” he continued, explaining how he came to take the gig. “Life really comes at you fast, you know?” He cracked that a friend, upon learning that he would get paid $500,000, told him to “put on a good suit and take them white people’s money.”

“The Fabelmans,” a semi-autobiographical family drama from Steven Spielberg, won the Globe for best film, drama, and the award for best director.

“I’m really, really happy about this,” Spielberg said while accepting the directing prize. “I’ve been hiding from this story since I was 17 years old.” He joked that his mother, Leah Adler, was in heaven “kvelling about this.”

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” a windswept tragicomedy about a moldered friendship, was named best film, musical or comedy, also picking up Globes for Martin McDonagh’s screenwriting and Colin Farrell’s acting.

But behind the sharp jokes, fervent acceptance speeches, Champagne and couture lurked another sad truth: After two years of upheaval caused by an ethics, finance and diversity scandal — culminating with NBC’s refusal to broadcast the 2022 ceremony — Hollywood has dropped any pretense that the Globes are meaningful as markers of artistic excellence.

The Globes are about business, plain and simple.

Most movie studios view the Globes telecast and accompanying red carpet spectacle as crucial marketing opportunities for winter films, especially dramas, which have been struggling at the box office. In a study released in 2021, economists at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania found that, on average, films that win Globes earn an additional $16.5 million in ticket sales.

“The Fabelmans,” which cost $40 million to make, not including marketing, was one of the films with the most to gain. It has collected $13.4 million at the domestic box office since its release in November.

James Cameron, a best director nominee for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” had received the memo. He turned a red carpet moment into a sales pitch. “We’re back to theaters — as a society we really need this,” he said. “Enough with the streaming already!”

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