The 81st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles presented a mix of highs and lows on Jan. 7, showcasing memorable moments and awkward missteps that left a lasting impression. While some highlights included Lily Gladstone’s win for Killers of the Flower Moon, and impactful speeches from Ayo Edebiri and Kieran Culkin, the overarching atmosphere was marred by Jo Koy’s divisive hosting and the numerous snubs.
The colour red stole the spotlight at the entrance to the Beverly Hilton as celebrities flaunted their stunning gowns. Florence Pugh, in Valentino, Heidi Klum, in Sophie Couture, and others like Selena Gomez, Rachel Brosnahan, and Julianne Moore embraced the bold and captivating trend, creating a coordinated fashion spectacle.
Koy’s opening monologue set the tone for discomfort, with ill-received jokes and a noticeable disconnect with the audience. The comedian alternated between blaming the crowd for not laughing and deflecting responsibility onto his writers, creating a lingering awkwardness that persisted throughout the ceremony.
The low point of Koy’s monologue included inappropriate comments about Barbie’s “big boobies,” drawing a wincing reaction from Barbie director Greta Gerwig. The comedian’s attempts to salvage jokes and deflect blame further fueled an uncomfortable atmosphere, leaving the audience with a sense of unease. Koy’s struggle highlighted the challenges of hosting an event that seemed to have lost its previous carefree vibe.
Taylor Swift notably refused to play along with Koy’s shoutout where he made a joke about her and the NFL, demonstrating a rare instance of a celebrity choosing not to engage in a forced and awkward comparison.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer secured five Golden Globe wins. The movie received accolades for best drama motion picture, best director, best actor in a drama motion picture for Cillian Murphy’s gaunt portrayal of Oppenheimer, best supporting actor in a motion picture for Robert Downey Jr. as government nemesis Lewis Strauss, and best original score for Ludwig Göransson.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph’s win for best supporting actress in a motion picture for her role in The Holdovers brought a high moment, celebrating her commendable work across various projects. While her speech may have felt rehearsed, the recognition for her versatile performances added a positive note to the ceremony.
Despite being a massive success and critically acclaimed, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse lost to The Boy and the Heron in the best animated feature film category. Directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki who returned from retirement at the age of 83, the film is considered his most personal work.
Gladstone’s acceptance speech emerged as the most powerful moment of the night, delivered in their Native Blackfeet language. Gladstone’s win as the first Indigenous actor in the category, coupled with a dedication to every Native child with a dream, provided a poignant conclusion to an otherwise tumultuous event.
In a peculiar twist, the subdued and seemingly disengaged demeanor of attendees raised questions about whether the entire awards show felt like a hostage situation. The lackluster introductions, shoddily written scripts, and the general sense of weariness suggested collective exhaustion, perhaps fueled by the loop of fame and capital inherent in Hollywood.
HBO’s The Last of Us secured eight awards at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards but failed to win a single trophy at the ceremony. The Golden Globes also broke its tradition of recognizing new T.V. shows by not bestowing any awards on the fall debutant Lessons in Chemistry. These outcomes underscored the unpredictable nature of awards season and the shifting preferences within the entertainment industry.
The 2024 Golden Globes offered a mix of memorable moments and uncomfortable instances, highlighting the challenges of navigating a post-pandemic awards show landscape.
The ceremony grappled with maintaining its historical vibrancy while facing moments of discord and disconnect, leaving viewers with a sense of both disappointment and fleeting charm. While the Golden Globes may not always predict Oscar outcomes, they can be considered a preliminary indication, and the recent wins may signal the beginning of a potential Oscar landslide.