Friday, March 1, 2024

Reactions To The 81st Golden Globe Award Winners

After the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was dissolved this year, the big question posed before this year’s Golden Globe Awards was: would anything change? In years past, the HFPA was accused of being bought off and seeking to simply award the biggest names possible just to have them show up at the Globes and make celebrities want to hang around them. The new Golden Globes have expanded their roster from 60 or so names to over 300 voting members, touting themselves as the most diverse awards voting body. It was clear from their surprising nominations that the voters were setting themselves apart from their unsavory history, nominating a surprising amount of international titles. Still, what would happen at the 81st Golden Globe Awards? Well, the show is over, winners have been crowned, and one thing is sure: the Globes might just be cool now.

Let’s break down the winners, losers, and everything in between…

Though not unexpected, “Oppenheimer” came out on top, scoring five wins, the most of any film this year. Ludwig Göransson took home his first Golden Globe for Best Original Score after losing to Justin Hurwitz in 2018. Robert Downey Jr. delivered perhaps the funniest speech of the evening as he won Best Supporting Actor. While we always knew this would be a race between him and Ryan Gosling for “Barbie,” Downey gave the sort of generous and hilarious speech that starts a snowball of wins. This could be the start of a sweep. And as close as Downey and Gosling’s race seems, it’s even tighter between Bradley Cooper and Cillian Murphy. Though, “Maestro” went home empty-handed while Murphy took the stage, winning Best Actor in a Drama. Austin Butler won the Globe last year before losing the Oscar to Fraser, so the race isn’t over yet, but this was a much-needed win for Murphy to get out on stage in the first televised awards of the year.

But it’s Christopher Nolan’s year. He took home the Globe for Best Director, while the movie won Best Motion Picture – Drama. Nolan gave a low-key, generous speech, acknowledging that a director is nothing without the cast and crew who make the film possible. These wins were huge for “Oppenheimer’s” Oscar chances, giving it a significant boost to solidify what already feels inevitable. Of course, the race isn’t over until it’s over. But the rough-ish night for “Barbie” certainly felt like the best-case scenario for “Oppenheimer.”

While “Oppenheimer” scored every award it was generally predicted to win, “Barbie” missed a handful of wins within its grasp. Though not strictly an upset, “Poor Things” took home the top prize of Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy, winning over the widely predicted “Barbie.” Emma Stone also won Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy, giving a lovely speech about working with Yorgos. While “Barbie” did win two awards, they were for smaller categories. Billie Eilish and Finneas won Best Original Song for “Barbie’s” “What Was I Made For,” their second Golden Globe, likely on the way to their second Oscar. “Barbie” also scored the inaugural award for “Cinematic and Box Office Achievement.” Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were on hand to give a charming speech that ended up being their only time on stage for the night.

While “Barbie” remains a solid contender, the Globes was the opportunity to see them leave on equal footing with “Oppenheimer,” perhaps with a Globe for Screenplay to Nolan’s Globe for Director. There’s still plenty of space for “Barbie” to make up ground. Lest we forget, last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” also failed to win the Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy. Perhaps a win in SAG Ensemble would go quite a long way for “Barbie.”

Until just two years ago, under the old Globes, Foreign Language films were deemed ineligible for the two Best Picture categories. Three such films were nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama this year. Early in the night, the Golden Globes proved they were continuing this new direction. “Anatomy Of A Fall” scored two quick wins, one for Best Screenplay and one for Non-English Language Film. While “Barbie” was considered tough competition in Best Screenplay, Justine Triet’s win here proved the nominations for international titles were no fluke. Even “Past Lives,” deemed eligible here but not at the Oscars, was no match for “Anatomy Of A Fall” in Non-English Language Film. Its strength early in the night made it seem like the film could’ve also won Drama Actress for Sandra Hüller, but Lily Gladstone took the win there, the only win for “Killers Of The Flower Moon.”

The Boy And The Heron” also scored an upset victory in Best Animated Motion Picture over “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse.” This was Hayao Miyazaki’s first win and nomination and the first traditionally animated film to win Best Animated Motion Picture at the Golden Globes. This was a big win for Miyazaki’s film. While “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse” still has a lot of strength, this will be a very close race. This could be the start of a pattern for “The Boy And The Heron.”

Two-thirds of the trio from “The Holdovers” was nominated tonight (sorry, Dominic Sessa), and the two won their respective categories. Da’Vine Joy Randolph took home the first award of the evening, winning Best Supporting Actress. Randolph has been making a nearly unparalleled award run this early in the season, and this win solidifies it. There’s no reason to believe she won’t sweep the entire thing. Her speech, while nice, was a bit stiff as she read from a tiny piece of paper. Randolph has shown that she’s a hilarious, charming individual, and I hope her speeches at future awards shows can show off her personality a bit more. Paul Giamatti did a bit of that himself as he won Best Actor – Musical/Comedy. Joking about how he’ll never make it in “John Wick 5,” Giamatti’s speech was light and gracious. While we’ve all been focused on Murphy and Cooper, Giamatti taking the stage on TV tonight helps voters see him as a winner. This was a well-needed, if expected, win for him. Now, let’s focus on getting Sessa a nomination alongside these two.

The TV side of the Golden Globes was a bit more tedious, though they awarded shows highly deserving of the honors. Elizabeth Debicki won Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series for her role as Princess Diana in “The Crown.” Still, otherwise, the Globes awarded just one show in each group: Comedy, Drama, and Limited Series. “Beef” started things early, winning Best Limited Series, Anthology Series, or Motion Picture Made For Television, along with Lead wins for Ali Wong and Steven Yeun. On the Comedy side, “The Bear” won Best Television Series – Musical/Comedy, while Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri also took home Lead wins for Musical/Comedy. And finally, “Succession” ended their run with wins in Best Television Series – Drama, while Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, and Matthew McFadyen won their respective categories. Apparently, they liked the shows they liked and didn’t seek to spread the wealth much.

Finally, we come to Jo Koy, the host for the evening. While Koy is typically likable enough, his monologue bombed hard for viewers at home and in the room. He broke the number one rule for successfully hosting these award shows: Don’t insult the movies themselves. We’re here to honor these films, so insulting them makes no sense. Clearly, the movies are pretty beloved to get to this point, so who are you winning over by telling us you hate the movies? Koy talked about how “Oppenheimer” is far too long and hoped he could finally finish watching it this year. He blasted Martin Scorsese for being another white man stealing native stories. Joke after joke bombed hard, and you could see that even Koy knew he wasn’t doing well at all as he referenced the response repeatedly as he went. Throughout the rest of the show, Koy was mostly absent. One wonders if there were other bits planned that they scrapped after the horrendous response to his performance. Making jokes that poke fun at people or the films is acceptable, but hosts need to understand that the people in the room, and presumably the vast majority of viewers, enjoy these films. Please treat them with respect, and the job of hosting will go much more smoothly. Not that Koy will need to worry about that any longer after tonight.

Koy aside, this feels like a new era for the Golden Globes. The winners were, dare I say, fantastic. This new voting body proved tharen’tn’t simply looking to award the biggest stars just to keep in their good graces. Now, the real question: is this year an outlier, or will they continue this trend for years to come?

What did you think of this year’s Golden Globe awards? Which category surprised you the most? Which winner (or loser) do you think most impacts the Oscar race? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Twitter account.

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Daniel Howat
Daniel Howat
Movie and awards season obsessed. Hollywood Critics Association Member.

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