The Golden Globes Will Be Back This Year, And I’m Looking Forward to Them
(Before You Cancel Me, Read The Article)
Over the past two years there has been a great deal of controversy involving the Golden Globes. Following the 2021 ceremonies, several actors and writers protested the Hollywood Foreign Press Association based on the racial and sexual makeup of the membership, with Tom Cruise returning the three Golden Globes he had one in an act of protest. NBC announced it was cancelling the broadcast of the 2022 Golden Globes as a result. Not long after, it came out that countless actors and their publicists had been infuriated for years by the way so many of them had had to fawn over the members of this organization.
The HFPA has — in truth, acted as if has not been particularly humbled by the experience. That October they made it clear that they were going to give nominations and awards even if no one was there to receive them or watch them. Then they attempted to undercut the Broadcast Critics Awards (the awards show that for the past six years has traditionally followed the Golden Globes) by planning their awards for the same night. This move was undercut by the second wave of the pandemic in the winter of 2021, which caused the Critics Choice to move to March. The Golden Globes nevertheless proceeded to give their awards that January anyway in what has to have been their oddest awards show to date (and this counts the one in 2008 at the height of the WGA and Directors Guild Strike) which was done entirely by a series of tweets. I still don’t if anyone who won an award accepted one.
Despite all of this controversy, the apparent lack of remorse and only the word of the HFPA that they have undergone significant reforms, NBC has announced that they will broadcast the Golden Globes this January anyway. It remains to be seen what kind of show we will get and indeed who will show up for it.
I am not immune to the criticism of the Golden Globes: I am well aware of the numerous scandals involving bribery and manipulation over the decades. But that is not the subject of this article. As those of you who have read my column over the past several years are well aware, I am a television awards junkie. And in the decade that I have been criticizing television and the more than two decades that I have been observing awards as they pertain to TV in general (an era which more or less overlaps with the beginning of peak TV), I have no choice but to acknowledge that in this period the Golden Globes have general done a superb job honoring the best television has to offer, certainly in comparison with the Emmy during this same period.
I realize the HFPA has been accused of a lack of diversity recently. But if we use the term diversity to mean ‘a larger variety’, then it becomes increasingly difficult to deny that is how the Golden Globes have handled the creativity of television in the new millennium. They were willing to give the Best Drama Prize to The Sopranos and 24 years before the Emmys were willing to do so as well as some the Emmys would never acknowledge (Six Feet Under, The Americans at its peak) or even nominate for Best Drama (The Shield, Nip/Tuck). Their track record in comedy is slightly spottier but they were willing to give prizes to Curb Your Enthusiasm when it was at its peak and groundbreaking shows like Transparent and Atlanta, none of which have ever taken the top prize. And they have been willing to show recognition to series the Emmys refused to ever acknowledge existed such as Mozart in the Jungle and The Affair. The Golden Globes aren’t perfect in this regard — it took them until Breaking Bad’s fourth season to acknowledge it existed — but they have shown a far greater regard for variety than the Emmys ever have. The Golden Globes never gave a Best Drama prize to Game of Thrones during the entirety of its run, and they honored six different actresses for Best Actress in a Comedy, none of whom were Julia-Louis Dreyfus during her run on Veep. I may not have agreed with the selection of Lena Dunham or Laura Dern, but at least they were willing to try. And I can’t help but think that the HPFA’s decision to constantly keep honoring new series and actors every year rather than the Emmys pattern of nominating the same series and actors year after year for increasingly inferior work is preferable. Did it hurt actors and series like This is Us and Mad Men in the long run? Probably. But there’s something to be said for experimentation rather than knowing that the same six or seven series are going to be nominated every year no matter how exceptional other series are. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Mr. Robot could never break through the Emmys, but the Globes were willing to give them a chance. I can’t help but think those were superior choices to Modern Family and Game of Thrones in their respective years and I stand by them.
There have been accusations that in many years the Golden Globes have been little more than dress rehearsal for the Oscars. It is far more difficult to prove a similar correlation between the Globes and the Emmys, and if there is one it has only become prevalent the last few years. Boardwalk Empire never won an Emmy for best drama despite triumphing for Best Drama twice. Grey’s Anatomy has never won an Emmy and likely never will. Glee and Girls never triumphed for Best Comedy. And as for correlation with acting awards Katey Sagal won a Best Actress for Sons of Anarchy. Never nominated. Anna Paquin won for True Blood. Never nominated. Andy Samberg won for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Never nominated. I could go on in this regard, but I’ll settle for this. The Emmys never acknowledged the WB existed and have seen similarly fit to disregard its successor the CW. The Golden Globes nominated Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lauren Graham for Best Actress for Buffy and Gilmore Girls respectively, nominated Felicity for Best Drama and gave Keri Russell its Best Actress prize and in consecutive years gave their Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical to Gina Rodriguez for Jane the Virgin and Rachel Bloom for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. None of these shows or actresses ever even received an Emmy nomination. Say what you will about the Globes not being diverse, but until the Critics Choice and the HCA came along, they were willing to acknowledge that there were other broadcast networks other than the major ones.
And now that we’re talking about diversity: how many Emmys have Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross, Sandra Oh, Ramy Youssef, or Gael Garcia Bernal won? Zero. Collectively, these actors have earned six. (Oh has won for Grey’s Anatomy and Killing Eve. ) If anything, the Golden Globes have led in television and the Emmys have painfully been unwilling to follow. This would even go so far as to pertain the year where no awards show happened. MJ Rodriguez, who many thought deserved to win an Emmy for her stunning work on Pose, took Best Actress in a Drama. O-Yeong Su took the prize for Supporting Actor for Squid Game. And give the Globes credit for acknowledging Underground Railroad for Best Limited Series when it would have been safe to give the prize to Mare of Easttown or Dopesick.
I would make this argument as a whole for many of the awards they gave this past year. Yes, Succession prevailed for Best Drama but Brian Cox and Sarah Snook ended up going home empty handed at the Emmys. Jason Sudeikis won Best Actor in a Comedy, but the big winner turned out to be Hacks which took Best Comedy as well. No one who saw their work will deny that Jean Smart or Michael Keaton didn’t deserve their trophies and if the Emmys were following the Golden Globes, they were also following practically every other awards show between then and September.
And because of the eclectic nature of the nominated series, the Golden Globes can not only be nearly impossible to predict but delightful in the end results. In addition to all of the previous triumphs I’ve mentioned, the Globes also tend to recognize series that should get Emmy nominations but almost never do. Big Love spent five brilliant seasons basically being ignored by the Emmys. But the Golden Globes nominated it for Best Drama twice and in one of my favorite moments in awards show history gave Chloe Sevigny a well-deserved Supporting Actress award that I so wish the Emmys had been willing to reciprocate.
This actually brings me to a piece of news that I consider a victory lap of sorts. For the past decade, every time I have dealt with my reactions to the Golden Globe nominations, I have objected in the strongest possible terms to the Supporting awards. As those of you who follow them may be aware, while all the other awards are divided between Drama, Comedy and Limited Series/Movie, Supporting Actor and Actress have always represented all three categories. I have always considered this a travesty, particularly considering that until fairly recently the Supporting Awards have been dominated by the limited series category. It has been over a decade since the Supporting Actor or Actress in either category went to a nominee from a comedy — Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch for Glee. Winners from dramas have made some victories (the last two years for example) but by and large these categories have been dominated by the increasingly brilliant number of limited series. Every year, I keep advocating for them to increase the number of supporting awards.
This year, my prayers have been answered. Sort of. This year, there will be two sets of Supporting Actor and Actress awards: one for comedy and drama, one for limited series and movie. I cannot help but feel a certain amount of vindication in the HFPA acknowledging that this is a move that was long overdue. Would I have preferred a set of nods for all three categories? Of course. But let’s take nothing away from this decision, considering that the last time the Golden Globes added a category at all was twenty years when they finally acknowledged that they had to recognize Animated Films. Let’s hope that we can separate the dramas and comedies by the end of the decade. (I’m a realist.)
At the end of the day, does this mean I will come back to a ceremony that has so much controversy attached to it and seems to have merely gone through the motions? I’m not going to be overjoyed if I had to deal with the smug face of Ricky Gervais again nor do I particularly want to think how many celebrities will actually acknowledge this is change and bother to show up. (I could see a Golden Globes where the auditorium is half empty…at best.) But even after all the controversy that has been attached to it, when it comes to television, I have been more inclined to trust and appreciate the results of the Golden Globes as being infinitely more realistic than that of the Emmys. If they are willing to give nominations to limited series like Gaslit and The First Lady which I thought were ignored by the Emmys, give a lot of nominations to newcomers like Abbott Elementary and The Gilded Age and finally give Better Call Saul what it is due (like they finally did for Breaking Bad in its final season), then that will do a lot to atone in my book. I have never been under the illusion that the Golden Globes were perfect. They’re an awards show; by definition they will piss people off no matter who they pick. All I can do is hope they have learned from their mistakes…like nominating Smash.