ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from the 80th Golden Globe Awards

The 80th Golden Globe Awards were a return to form Tuesday as some of Hollywood’s biggest names gathered to celebrate the best in film and TV in 2022.

After a year mired in controversy due to a lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the awards, there was a feeling within The Beverly Hilton ballroom that Hollywood was ready to forgive, move on and restore clout to a ceremony that has typically been a reliable Oscar precursor.

For an awards show celebrating 80 years, the Globes oddly bypassed nostalgia (no montages, no legendary stars from yesteryear), but the overall winners, including a rare, strong showing from Asian and Black actors across major categories, were well-deserved. The most shocking upset of the night was in best original song which had tunes by Grammy darlings Taylor Swift (“Where the Crawdads Sing”), Lady Gaga (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and Rihanna (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) losing to a foreign film (“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”).

Here are five takeaways from the ceremony.

Credit: Rich Polk

Credit: Rich Polk

1. Host Jerrod Carmichael missed the mark

Carmichael is on a bit of a hot streak right now having won a writing Emmy last September for his acclaimed comedy special “Rothaniel.” As host, his fashion was on point, but his lackluster, one-note opening monologue –completely tied to race and HFPA’s diversity woes – didn’t leave anything new to say. His dry, rambling delivery fell flat, and he failed to ignite the room throughout the night, proving that seasoned comedians are sometimes more suited for the expectations and pressures of the emcee limelight. I’m hoping former Globe co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be invited back next year. And if all else fails, you can’t go wrong with Jennifer Coolidge.

Credit: Rich Polk

Credit: Rich Polk

2. Former child actors step into the spotlight

Supporting actor winners Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Tyler James Williams (“Abbott Elementary”) finally received their due having left indelible impressions in Hollywood as kids. Quan, who portrayed Short Round in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” joyfully thanked Steven Spielberg in his acceptance speech, and Williams, mature beyond his years in the titular role on “Everybody Hates Chris,” was equally humbled. When you think about all the child actors who gave up on their careers because they had difficulty transitioning to adult roles, Quan and Williams are a testament to the power of determination.

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3. An inspiring world leader addresses an international audience

In one of the evening’s genuine surprises, Sean Penn introduced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a video message, Zelenskyy stirred thoughts of victory as he vowed to keep fighting as the war in Ukraine rages on. “The tide is turning and it is already clear who will win,” he said to applause and cheers from the audience. “There are still battles and tears ahead but now I can definitely tell you who was the best in the previous year. It was you – the free people of the free world, those who united around the support of the free Ukrainian people in our common struggle for freedom.”

Credit: Rich Polk

Credit: Rich Polk

4. Ryan Murphy’s graciousness in accepting the Carol Burnett Award

Standout acceptance speeches were plentiful (Cecil B. DeMille recipient Eddie Murphy’s homage to Will Smith’s Oscar fiasco was absolutely hilarious) but Ryan Murphy’s graciousness upon receiving the Carol Burnett Award for outstanding contributions in television was the most poignant. Instead of immediately reflecting on his bold, daring accomplishments, Murphy, who hasn’t been shy about growing up gay in Indiana, flipped the script by recognizing the courage and journeys of the LGBTQ actors he championed with opportunities that have led to Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and/or wins. His decision to praise the work of Michaela Jaé Rodriguez (“Pose”), Billy Porter (“Pose”), Niecy Nash-Betts (“Dahmer”), Matt Bomer (“The Normal Heart”) and Jeremy Pope (“Hollywood”) bolstered the importance of inclusivity and the endless possibilities that arise from embracing one’s true self.

Credit: Rich Polk

Credit: Rich Polk

5. The road to the Oscars takes shape

The big winners of the night were Martin McDonagh’s stellar friendship-gone-bad dramedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” and Spielberg’s charming, semi-autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans,” putting both in a prime position for multiple Oscar nominations. Angela Bassett (who won the Globe for her dynamic performance in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” her first Globe victory since “What’s Love Got to Do With It” in 1994) joins Quan as supporting frontrunners. Bassett will likely benefit from the “overdue for an Oscar” narrative as well going forward. Look for a more competitive race in the lead categories as Globe winners Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Austin Butler (“Elvis”) jostle for best actor, and Globe winners Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) vie for best actress. Oscar nominations will be revealed Tuesday, Jan. 24 and the 95th Oscars will be held Sunday, March 12.

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