The 80th annual Golden Globes returned to the air on Tuesday evening, marking a comeback for the once disgraced awards show after last year’s telecast was cancelled by NBC.
The event’s voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was accused of racism and bribery in a series of reports published by the Los Angeles Times in 2021. The organization vowed to clean up its act and diversify its voting membership in light of the allegations, appeasing NBC, which televised the 2023 ceremony.
This year’s Globes were hosted by comedian Jerrod Carmichael, who addressed the scandal in an off-kilter opening monologue, jokingly referring to himself as “the Black face of an embattled white organization.”
The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All At Once and Abbott Elementary were among the evening’s biggest winners.
Otherwise, it was a fairly unremarkable show, save for a few standout moments, jokes and surprises.
The night’s best speeches
One of the night’s greatest moments came early: Ke Huy Quan’s best supporting actor win for the wildly successful Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Quan, who worked as a child actor in the ’80s and gave a shoutout to his Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom director Steven Spielberg, recalled the self-doubt he felt when the roles began to dry up.
After retreating during the ’90s and 2000s to work as an assistant director and stunt coordinator, he landed a golden opportunity to star in what became one of 2022’s breakout hits — and he has been a reliably enthusiastic presence on the festival circuit this year.
“Thankfully more than 30 years later, two guys thought of me,” Quan said of the project’s co-directors, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. “They remembered that kid. And they gave me an opportunity to try again.”
Later in the evening, Ryan Murphy — one of the most prolific television producers working in Hollywood — received the Carol Burnett Life Achievement Award and used his speech to highlight the work of five LGBTQ performers he’s collaborated with.
The first, MJ Rodriguez, won last year’s Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV drama, the first trans woman to win the award; but without a telecast, she couldn’t make a speech. He invited her to stand for an ovation from the crowd.
Murphy then spoke about Jeremy Pope, Niecy Nash, Billy Porter and Matt Bomer, addressing his comments to LGBTQ youth who aspire to work in the arts. “I offer [them] as examples of possibility,” he said. “There is a way forward; use them as your north stars.”
Longtime actresses look back on careers
Throughout the ceremony, veteran actresses including Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus), Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All At Once) received accolades for major milestone projects.
Yeoh highlighted the adversity she once faced as a young Malaysian actress who, upon her arrival in Hollywood, fielded questions about her English, and then later wondered as an aging, female performer if her career was over.
“All of you women understand this: as the days, the years and the numbers get bigger, it seems like opportunities start to get smaller as well. I probably was at a time where I thought, hey come on girl, you had a really great run,” she said, before calling Everything Everywhere All At Once “the best gift.”
Jennifer Coolidge, widely lauded for her performance in the critical darling miniseries The White Lotus, took the stage for the second time that evening (the first, as a presenter) to accept the award for best supporting actress in a limited series.
She said producers like Ryan Murphy kept her going with small projects in between the big ones, and added that Lotus showrunner Mike White changed her life.
“I had such big dreams as a young person, but what happens is they get sort of fizzled by life,” she said. “Mike White, you gave me a new beginning.”
Surprises, Spielberg, swear words
A handful of surprises punctuated the awards show. Naatu Naatu — an earworm from India’s runaway hit, the action-drama RRR — bested compositions by Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga in the original song.
But the film, a crowd-pleasing smash that made $154 million US at the global box office last year, surprisingly lost the award for best non-English language motion picture to historical drama Argentina, 1985.
Steven Spielberg first won best director, then accepted Best Picture for his semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, with Canadian stars Gabriel Labelle and Seth Rogen joining him onstage for the latter award.
WATCH | Golden Globes return in 2023 after hiatus:
Legendary composer John Williams, whose score for The Fabelmans was his last since announcing his retirement, lost out on the best original score award to Babylon‘s Justin Hurwitz.
But perhaps the night’s biggest surprises were peppered throughout the telecast. For some Canadian viewers, at least, there was a whole lot of uncensored swearing — including crystal clear f-bombs from host Jerrod Carmichael, The Banshees of Inisherin star Colin Farrell and comedian Nicole Byer.
This year’s Cecil B. DeMille recipient for outstanding contributions to entertainment was Eddie Murphy, who capped off his speech with advice to industry newcomers:
“Pay your taxes, mind your business, and keep Will Smith’s wife’s name out of your f****** mouth!”