Christopher Nolan’s impressive American drama “Oppenheimer” is the standout at the 81st Golden Globes, where both “Succession” and “The Bear” are also receiving several awards.
“Oppenheimer,” a strong contender for the Academy Awards, secured four major wins. These include best director for Nolan, best drama actor for Cillian Murphy, best supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr., and Ludwig Göransson’s score.
During the Golden Globes, Robert Downey Jr. expressed gratitude to the journalists, saying, “Thank you for changing your game, and consequently, your name.”
The Golden Globes were celebrating their 81st year, but things were uncertain. Following a turbulent period with numerous scandals, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was disbanded. Now, the Globes are making a fresh start on a new network (CBS), aiming to reclaim its position as the third most significant award show, following the Oscars and Grammys. They even changed up the menu to feature sushi from Nobu.
The beginning wasn’t smooth. Host Jo Koy kicked off the event at the Beverly Hilton International Ballroom in Beverly Hills, California. The Filipino American stand-up comedian covered some expected topics, like Ozempic, Meryl Streep’s talent for winning awards, and the long-standing “Oppenheimer” theme. (“I needed another hour.”)
After a joke fell flat, Koy, selected as the host when reportedly bigger names turned it down, acknowledged how quickly he had to take on the role.
“Hey, I got this job just 10 days ago. Are you expecting a flawless monologue?” Koy quipped. “I wrote some of these jokes, and those are the ones making you laugh.”
Downey Wins Third Globe
Downey’s victory, marking his third Globe, thwarted Kenergy’s chances. Ryan Gosling was considered his strongest competitor, highlighting one of many direct competitions between “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie.” The filmmakers went head-to-head in the best director category, with Nolan emerging victorious.
“Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” both blockbuster films coincidentally released on the same date, competed against each other in the best screenplay category. However, in a surprising turn of events, Justine Triet and Arthur Harari secured the win for the script of the French courtroom drama “Anatomy of a Fall.” Later, Triet’s film also received the award for best international film.
While the Golden Globes don’t directly influence the Academy Awards, they can significantly impact campaigns at a critical moment. Oscar nomination voting begins on Thursday, and the closely watched “Barbenheimer” duo remains the frontrunners.
Other potential competitors are on the horizon, such as Yorgos Lanthimos’ fable with a Frankenstein-like twist, “Poor Things.” Emma Stone, its lead actress, secured the award for best actress in a comedy or musical.
“I view this as a romantic comedy,” Stone remarked. “But it’s more about Bella falling in love with life itself rather than a person. She embraces both the positives and negatives equally, and that truly changed my perspective on life.”
The initial award of the night was presented to Da’Vine Joy Randolph for her outstanding supporting role in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” Randolph has become the frontrunner in this category, praised for her portrayal of a grieving woman in the 1970s boarding school drama.
Addressing her character, Randolph expressed, “Oh, Mary, you have transformed my life. You have made me feel acknowledged in so many ways that I had never imagined.”
Taylor Swift Joins New Categories
Taylor Swift made a belated appearance on Sunday. Her tour, “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” is nominated in the newly launched “cinematic and box-office achievement” category. Travis Kelce, Swift’s boyfriend, had earlier played with his team, the Kansas City Chiefs, at the nearby SoFi Stadium. The speculation about whether they would attend the Globes together was one of the most discussed topics leading up to the event.
Success for ‘Succession’
The last season of “Succession” led the TV nominations and quickly secured two awards. Matt MacFadyen won for best supporting actor, while Kieran Culkin took home the award for best actor. In a playful manner, Culkin enjoyed the victory over Pedro Pascal (“The Last of Us”). “Suck it, Pedro,” Culkin declared with a grin.
Ali Wong and Steven Yeun both received awards for their roles in “Beef.”
Jeremy Allen White won for the second time for “The Bear,” but this time he was not alone. Ayo Edebiri won her first Globe for her leading role in the second season of the Hulu show. She expressed gratitude to the assistants of her agents and managers.
The Globes Comeback
Not long ago, the Golden Globes faced a potential downfall. Following a Los Angeles Times report revealing the absence of Black members in the HFPA, Hollywood boycotted the organization. The 2022 Globes were nearly canceled and removed from television. After implementing reforms, the Globes made a one-year return to NBC last year, but the show was shifted to Tuesday evening. Hosted by Jerrod Carmichael, the broadcast drew 6.3 million viewers, marking a new low on NBC and a significant drop from the once 20 million viewership.
Eldridge Industries and Dick Clark Productions, both owned by Penske Media, took over the Golden Globes and transformed it into a for-profit enterprise. The HFPA, usually consisting of around 90 voters, was disbanded, and a new group of approximately 300 entertainment journalists from various parts of the world now participate in the award voting process.
Questions still remain about the future of the Golden Globes, but their significance for Hollywood studios lies in offering a promotional lift to potential award nominees. (The Oscars are scheduled for March 10.) This year, due to actors’ and writers’ strikes, the Globes are airing before the Emmys, which were rescheduled for Jan. 15.
Given that movie ticket sales are still 20% below pre-pandemic levels, and the film industry may encounter challenges at the box office in 2024, Hollywood relies on the Golden Globes now more than ever. Furthermore, a notable fact is Disney owns the rights to many of the most expensive movies ever made.
The 81st Golden Globes celebrated victories for “Oppenheimer” and “Succession,” marking a comeback for the awards after recent challenges. Christopher Nolan’s film and the TV series dominated, highlighting both expected and unexpected successes. While uncertainties persist, the Golden Globes continue to shape Hollywood’s awards landscape, providing a crucial promotional boost amid industry changes.