The 78th Golden Globe Awards, which honored the best of 2020’s film and television, were on Sunday, February 28. The popular show had been postponed far past its usual early January date and it looked quite a bit different than usual due to pandemic precautions.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference was the pre-show—or, rather, the overall lack of one. With its flashing lights, dazzling outfits and sheer number of celebrities in one space, the red carpet is typically one of the most famous and well-liked aspects of the show. While many of this year’s presenters still made in-person appearances, tradition gave way to the wellbeing of participants as virtual interviews and throwbacks to past red carpets filled the pre-show time slot.
The awards themselves remained largely virtual as well. Nominees remained at home, sitting on couches and at kitchen tables to receive what could be the award of a lifetime. Mics were accidentally muted, speeches were cut out and lag was inevitable. Dogs and babies also made appearances; which was arguably one of the upsides of the show’s remote nature. Normally confident celebrities looked as though they weren’t sure how to act. It was a rather lackluster experience in many ways. But the coordinators, hosts and participants did they best they could with what they had to work with.
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to host for a fourth time, which brought a bit of normalcy to the show. However, they co-hosted from across the country with Fey in NYC’s Rockefeller Center and Poehler in Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton. Presenters for the awards were allowed onstage as well, including big names such as Gal Gadot, Kevin Bacon, Kenan Thompson, Tiffany Haddish and Margot Robbie.
The voting process for the show also remained the same. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association consists of about 90 California-based journalists who pull the strings of the Globes, making the decisions on who makes the monumental leap from nominee to winner. Another aspect that hasn’t changed is the controversial nature of the HFPA—this year, the backlash stemmed from the fact that not one Black representative was in the organization.
Helen Hoehne, vice president of the HFPA, was quick to respond to the criticism. “Tonight while we celebrate the work of artists from around the globe, we recognize we have our own work to do,” she said. “Like in film and television, Black representation is vital. We must have Black journalists in our organization.”
The controversy has quickly become one of the only notable things about 2021’s Golden Globe. Paired with the glitches, blunders and awkwardness of holding such a large event remotely, it is easy to feel that this year’s show fell flat.
Vulture entertainment news called it the “wrong kind of mess,” pointing out how the entire event felt clumsy and forced. “Daniel Kaluuya, the first winner of the evening for his role in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah,’ was stuck on mute and nearly had his acceptance speech skipped entirely,” the culture and entertainment magazine said. “In an effort to achieve the sort of spontaneity we normally see at the Globes… the show often cut to Zoom screens filled with nominees from an upcoming category, expecting them to make organic, virtual small talk. Nothing about this felt organic.”
Nominees did have good things to say about remaining at home, though. “Mank” actress Amanda Seyfried relished in having her family close by to celebrate the evening with her. “I’ve got my son, who is five months old, laying against a pillow in a tux,” she said during an interview. “I wish I could show you, he’s in a tux… It’s a really wonderful time, isn’t it for everybody?”
At the end of the day and despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding it, the Golden Globe is still an award show and this year helped showcase this. Streaming services won the day as Netflix managed to bank 10 trophies out of its 42 nominations and Amazon brought home three. Disney alone received five awards. The most notable winners include “Nomadland” (Best Picture/Drama), Chadwick Boseman (Best Actor/Motion Picture/Drama), “Soul” (Best Picture/Animated), Anya Taylor-Joy (Best Actress/Television Motion Picture) and “The Crown” (Best Drama Series).