(CNN) — Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical “The Fabelmans” and the understated Irish period piece “The Banshees of Inisherin” claimed the top prizes at the Golden Globe Awards, on a night that saw the event return to television and directly address the controversy that prompted its TV absence in 2022.
Host Jerrod Carmichael reminded the stars who flocked back to this year’s 80th Globes about the scandal that temporarily drove the show off of television, kicking off the telecast by introducing himself as “the Black face of an embattled White organization.”
The Globes came back to NBC this year after the network dropped the 2022 telecast, following a Los Angeles Times report exposing the lack of diversity within the organization that presents them, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., and alleged ethical lapses by its members.
“I’ll tell you why I’m here: I’m here ’cause I’m Black,” Carmichael said, in an opening monologue that drew uncomfortable laughter from the audience in the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
The HFPA responded to the public criticism when the story broke in 2021 by enacting various reforms. Hollywood has cautiously re-embraced the festivities, hoping in part that Globes recognition will provide an advantage in what’s perceived to be a wide-open Oscar race.
As for helping to shape what will make the cut at the Academy Awards when those nominations are announced on January 24, two movies that have barely made a ripple at the box office outmuscled popular contenders like “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Top Gun: Maverick” in the movie voting. Because of the proximity to the Oscars, that’s invariably the most closely watched aspect of the awards leading up to it.
The Globes are unique in that they split their top film honors in two. “The Fabelmans” earned statues as both best drama and for Spielberg, his third Globe as a director, while “Banshees of Inisherin” won for best musical or comedy, as well for writer Martin McDonagh and star Colin Farrell.
Carmichael joked about just taking the money for hosting, but closed by saying that he accepted the job in part to provide a celebration for the entertainment figures in the room whom he admired.
Notably in terms of the controversy, five of the opening seven awards to performers went to people of color. That included Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan for the sci-fi comedy “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” the Marvel sequel. Both films were broadly popular, as opposed to the more narrowly skewed art-house fare that ruled most of the film categories.
Honored for his comeback role after a long acting hiatus, Quan expressed gratitude to Spielberg, who cast him as a child in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”Bassett spoke of the late Chadwick Boseman, and how the movies were part of his legacy.
Quinta Brunson and Tyler James Williams were also recognized for the best comedy winner, the ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary,” the rare series on a broadcast network to make inroads in the awards arena. Among dramas, Zendaya earned another accolade for HBO’s gritty teen drama “Euphoria.”
From a production standpoint, the ceremony frequently felt chaotic, hurrying through the final hour and still running about 20 minutes over its scheduled three-hour window.
Part of that had to do with the longwindedness, at least by the rules of award-show etiquette, of the recipients, who established early on that they would ignore efforts to “play them off” with musical cues and simply forge ahead with their speeches and thank-yous. In Yeoh’s case, the noted action star pointed out that she could beat up the piano player, if necessary.
Consisting of international journalists, the HFPA has traditionally favored European talent, a trend generally less evident this year. Farrell did win for “Banshees,” and Cate Blanchett for her role as the imperious conductor in “Tár.” Austin Butler was honored for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in the biography “Elvis.”
Netflix also scored a win over Disney in the animated movie category with “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” a stop-motion version of the story.
In the TV categories, the Globes voters spread the wealth, with HBO taking home four, including best series and limited series honors for “House of the Dragon” and “The White Lotus.” ABC claimed three thanks to “Abbott,” and FX a pair, with one each for Netflix, Apple TV+, Hulu, and Paramount Network.
Carmichael’s introductions included a joke about Tom Cruise returning his Golden Globes amid the controversy, drawing a muted response when he made a veiled reference to the actor’s ties to Scientology.
Eddie Murphy delivered a low-key speech in receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award, before closing with a joke about Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars that was one of the several utterances during the night to require bleeping out expletives.
Receiving the career-achievement award in television, “Glee” and “American Horror Story” producer Ryan Muprhy spoke of his mission to bring LGBTQ characters to the screen, seeking to “take the invisible, the unloved, and make them the heroes I always longed to see but never did in pop culture.”
The event also featured a recorded message from Ukrainian president Vlodymyr Zelensky, who made a similar appearance at the Grammy Awards in April.
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