No one knows the point of the Golden Globes. Being a Golden Globe winner just does not have the same ring as being an Oscar winner or Emmy winner. In the grand scheme of award shows, the Golden Globes are the “kickoff event,” where the movie winners become “Oscar frontrunners” and TV winners (sometimes) get a slight boost in their prestige and ratings. Besides being the first awards show of the year, the Globes really do not exist beyond NBC giving one of their network’s stars (e.g. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and, annoyingly, Ricky Gervais) a chance to promote their shows through a biting monologue. There are not even any musical performances or skits! Since the Globes award both movies and TV shows, the three-hour telecast is a sequence of two actors making an awkward joke or two before presenting the award, then the recipient makes the classic award show acceptance speech before getting cut off by the house band.
Despite the lack of need for the Golden Globes, they end up being a weird but entertaining awards show. Instead of taking place in a theater, the nominees sit at tables with their cast members and crew and the presence of alcohol leads to a more lighthearted environment. It also leads to moments like Jack Nicholson admitting to being on Valium during his acceptance speech one year or Renée Zellweger missing her name being called because she was in the bathroom.
Yet, since the Globes are the first awards show of the year, the host and attendees get the first chance to comment on everything currently happening. Last year, the Globes were the first major awards show since Trump’s election, and this year, the Globes were the first major awards show to be able to comment on Hollywood post-Weinstein. Almost everyone spoke out against sexual harassment in one way or another. Everyone wore all black with “Times Up” pins on their clothes. Eight actresses brought activists as their guests to the show. Seth Meyers opened the show by welcoming the “ladies and remaining gentlemen.” He proceeded to skewer Harvey Weinstein (“He’ll be back in 20 years when he’s the first person ever booed in the In Memoriam”), Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey. Natalie Portman presented the nominees for Best Director but not before calling them the “all-male nominees.” Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Elisabeth Moss and Reese Witherspoon all spoke about ending sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood while empowering women to speak up. Oprah Winfrey gave an inspiring speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award and, either accidently or slyly on purpose, launched her 2020 presidential campaign.
Nonetheless, the Golden Globes are an awards show, so the winners are worth mentioning. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri was the night’s big winner, taking home four awards. One of the weirdest parts of the Golden Globes is the splitting of movies into two categories, drama and comedy/musicals. While, in theory, this is a great way to shine the light on more movies, the movies that end up in the comedy/musical category sometimes are a stretch. The nominees for Best Comedy/Musical this year were The Disaster Artist, Get Out, Lady Bird (the winner), The Greatest Showman and I, Tonya. Baby Driver was also considered a comedy. While those movies had funny moments in them, Lady Bird was rarely described as a ‘comedy.’ Last year, Moonlight won best drama and La La Land won best comedy/musical and we all know how that played out at the Oscars, so look out for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri v. Lady Bird to be the story going into the Oscars. Unfortunately, Call Me by Your Name was shut out, but there is still time for the Oscars to fix that.
On the TV side, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel and Big Little Lies were the big winners, with each of them winning awards for best show in their respective drama while also picking up wins for their actresses and actors.
While there was no epic Best Picture mix-up to end the show, the Golden Globes still kept its reputation as being the weird and early awards show no one needed, but people still watched.