Given the reputation of the Golden Globes, the outcast of the awards season family, it’s hardly a surprise that its spin on a covid-era, somewhat social-distanced awards ceremony came with the chaos that Sunday’s broadcast did. The Globes, after all, are the awards show known for encouraging everyone to get drunk and let loose in black tie, run by the mysteriously respected Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which commands A-lister participation while getting away with awarding Madonna’s acting, attempting to make Pia Zadora a thing, and, most recently, nominating Sia’s execrable Music for two awards (including Best Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy!).
So while a bit of goofiness was to be expected, no one could have predicted the specifics of the chaos that Sunday’s ceremony brought. Technical difficulties abounded and Tracy Morgan mispronounced Soul (an apparent mistake), only to be mocked by a set of nominees (including Don Cheadle) in one of several mostly awkward and buggy interstitial Zoom pow-wows. Tina Fey said that Jane Fonda has the ass of a 20-year-old boy, Jane Fonda wished Tommy Tune a happy birthday, and Sean Penn showed up looking like he just came from napping under a dock where he’s moonlighting as chum (with a wig on?). I loved the cut-aways to celebrities at home, who looked on in various states of engagement—particularly the one to Jodie Foster, her wife Alexandra Hedison, and their dog, looking utterly over it as Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree Jane Fonda spoke about representation in her acceptance speech.
A rather overt conversation about representation was the thread that ran throughout this year’s ceremony. This was a year when the snub of I May Destroy You stuck out like a cyst on the Globes, and a recent social media campaign addressing HFPA’s lack of Black members went viral in apparent response to reporting by the LA Times about the “insular, improbably powerful group.” Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler addressed this in their (bicoastal) monologue, as did members of the HFPA in a pithy mea culpa segment during the ceremony. The sheer amount of non-white winners (including Nomadland director Chloe Zhao, The United States Vs. Billie Holiday’s Andra Day, Judas and the Black Messiah’s Daniel Kaluuya, Small Axe’s John Boyega, and Chadwick Boseman, whose widow Taylor Simone Ledward accepted the award for him posthumously via a moving speech that was the ceremony’s emotional peak) suggests at the very least that the Globes are talking the talk. But true coherence from a show that exists to be at least a little chaotic is expecting a lot. This year, the chaos was off the charts, and below is a reel of some highlights.