Let me set the scene: For years, the Golden Globes have been like that friend we love despite their glaring flaws. Sure, the awards were voted on by a tiny, sketchy group with some biased tastes. And the boozy telecast often felt more silly than prestigious. But it was live TV – anything could happen! Who could resist Tina and Amy’s sharp barbs or Jennifer Lawrence stumbling onstage with a wine glass in hand? We watched more for the unpredictable fun than to actually crown the year’s best films or shows.
But in 2021, the scandals and lack of diversity behind the scenes finally became too much to ignore. After some damning LA Times exposés, NBC pulled the plug on airing the Globes ceremony. Many wondered if we’d seen the last of those quirky foreign press folks handing out trophies during an open bar soirée.
Yet this year the Golden Globes came crawling back, hoping for a shot at redemption under new management. Having taken 2023 off to revamp their voting body and practices, the Globes returned to CBS with a brand new outlook…or so they claimed. The pressure was on to prove these weren’t just cosmetic changes. Could this formerly boozy spectacle still bring that unpredictable electricity without its shady past? Or would cleaning up its act leave the Globes feeling sterile and redundant? On January 7th, Hollywood held its breath to see if its beloved hot mess of an awards show could finally get its act together.
Jo Koy Bombs as Globes Host
Listen, hosting awards shows is no joke – just ask Jo Koy. With less than two weeks to prepare, the comedian drew the short straw to helm the Globes relaunch. And despite his energetic delivery, Koy’s opening monologue was a tough sit. Rather than playfully ribbing Hollywood’s foibles, his bits felt like hacky first drafts. There were lame cracks about Robert De Niro’s age, Chris Nolan’s film lengths, and even actor Barry Keoghan’s manhood – eliciting far more groans than laughs.
And Koy knew it too. He repeatedly broke the cardinal rule of comedy – never blame the audience or the material. “That was written!” he defensively shouted after one joke flopped hard. Dude, we don’t care who wrote it. Funny is funny – and this wasn’t. His best zingers targeted the low-hanging fruit of Ozempic weight loss shots and nepotism. But rather than tailoring his act to this crowd, Koy leaned on broad bits about hot moms and orgies that played like he had Caribou Coffee’s open mic night on his mind instead.
Between the off-key one-liners, Koy reminded everyone multiple times that he’d just been hired. And while 10 days is an insane deadline to write a hosting set, them’s the breaks. Past hosts like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have knocked it out of the park on short notice with actual observations about Hollywood. Too bad the writers penned a generic monologue that highlighted none of Koy’s talents. We know he can crush theaters of thousands with his personal stories about growing up Filipino. Yet aside from one fleeting and culturally reductive joke about lumpia, that unique perspective was AWOL.
Maybe Jo Koy kills at stand-up concerts where the crowd already loves him. But his rambling, defensive Globes debut did him no favors in front of an industry audience – or home viewers. After swiftly pissing off Taylor Swift with a petty joke about her dating life, Koy all but vanished into the shadows. Aside from a couple cringey, couch-related walk-ons in his velvet tux, his hosting duties were pretty much done. For this critical comeback ceremony, the Globes needed someone who could read the room and roll with the punches. Instead, they trotted out an unwilling performer delivering recycled punchlines to an awkward room. And like many of his gags, it just didn’t land.
Fumbling Presenters Add to Globes’ Malaise
If only the Golden Globes presenters had gotten the “no bits” memo. Despite Jo Koy’s monologue misfire setting an awkward tone, many duos and trios took their chances trying to inject some life into the proceedings. It…didn’t go well. Throughout the ceremony, the failed banter and stilted energy from these struggling stars made the show feel like a dry toast rather than a vibrant Hollywood party.
There were a few mercifully quick intros containing the bare minimum monotone line reads. But most presenters vainly tried punching up lackluster scripts, often in cringeworthy fashion. The normally charming Julia Garner and Jonathan Bailey couldn’t salvage limp lines about Bailey seeking advice for presenting. Over at the directors category, those legendary besties and funny guys Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were let down by flat, no-frills dialogue.
A few stalwarts managed minor laughs, like Ray Romano’s intentionally awkward “Have YOU seen my movie??” exchange with Keri Russell. Kristin Wiig and Will Ferrell briefly had fun dancing to triumphant theme music. And Kevin Costner at least committed wholeheartedly to an extended quasi-in-character and borderline non-sequitur bit while a patient America Ferrera waited out his ramblings.
But Andra Day and Jon Batiste came off best, organically quipping about the best original score category as if they were simply paling friends discussing their favorite video game soundtracks (which they are).
Where were all the film clips and career montages typically sprinkled throughout these shows? Likely trimmed due to time constraints, but they may have added some much needed production value and glamour. As it stood, the presenters were left flailing with half-baked banter focused more on the next award to be given rather than the art being honored. For every highlight like Day and Batiste’s infectious charm, there were multiple instances of guests stuck uncomfortably ad-libbing on live TV rather than organically conversing.
Combined with Jo Koy’s rough monologue, the presenters’ awkwardness kept the show from ever finding its rhythm. Whether reluctant to be there or just insufficiently prepped, even the A-listers couldn’t elevate the lifeless atmosphere. And the few bits that did work mainly showcased what we already love about those stars’ personalities. The Globes needed its presenters to supplement the entertainment, not substitute for it. Instead, seeing formerly funny fixtures like Damon and Affleck clumsily trying to liven up their stint mirrored the larger struggles facing the ceremony itself.
Globes Winners Offer Ceremony’s Few Bright Spots
Unlike the chaotic, oddball picks of Globes past, this year’s expanded voting body largely played it safe with their winners. Favoring critical darlings like “Oppenheimer,” “The Holdovers” and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” there were few surprises across film and television. Whether the sober predictability was actually an upgrade from the formerly scandal-ridden HFPA is debatable. However at least it lent the awards themselves a sheen of respectability, even if the telecast struggled to match it.
Of the bumper crop of victory speeches, several stood out by channeling that quintessential Globes spirit of affectionate irreverence. Da’Vine Joy Randolph set the tone early on, pulling out handwritten (!) notes with charming self-deprecation. Later, Emmy winner Ayo Edebiri further won hearts by sincerely name-checking her team’s assistants. Her face frozen in shock, Edebiri donned the same endearing earnestness she brings to her work.
On the film side, Kieran Culkin broke down admitting he’d given up expecting to be recognized after years of industry indifference. And an emotional Lily Gladstone made history as the first Native American actress to nab Best Motion Picture Drama Actress. Gladstone movingly acknowledged both the weight behind her trailblazing win as well as the need for further representation.
Another environmental shift was the lack of tipsy tangents or F-bombs often coloring Globes speeches in the champagne-fueled past. Lightning rod Winners stayed mostly composed, like notoriously filter-free Roberto Downey Jr. Yet his droll opening line “It’s fun proving agents right!” still hit the Globes’ sweet spot of irreverent charm.
That loose spirit surfaced again when Greta Gerwig accepted Best Screenplay for MAY DECEMBER. Thanking partner and director Noah Baumbach, she proclaimed “We did it, babe…turns out you loved MAY DECEMBER more than you let on!” A rare glimpse behind the curtain into a power couple’s playful dynamic.
There were even a few memorable presenter moments, as Jon Batiste and Andra Day radiated infectious joy discussing the Best Score nominees like they were comparing favorite video game soundtracks. Kristin Wiig and Will Ferrell briefly danced with goofy abandon to a swelling orchestral track.
Yet for all these flashes of humanity, an air of formal restraint still choking the room. There would be no epic moments like Glenn Close shaking her butt to “Da Butt.” Part of this may have come down to stressed winners watching countdown clocks, wary of getting played off mid-speech. The Flipboilf livestream cut off Paul Giamatti just as he got warmed up, one of many clunky production moves undermining the festivities.
And then there was the head-scratching, made-up “Cinematic Achievement” trophy invented solely to lure megawatt star Taylor Swift. A naked ploy for ratings rather than any kind of serious merit. Yet presenter Jimmy Fallon forced strained BUFFET puns for an awkward minute rather than highlighting Swift’s actual film work in projects like CATS or THE GIVER. A hollow validation of celebrity over craft.
Luckily, enough genuine emotion and humor peeked through in the recipient speeches to rescue the 2024 Globes from being a complete drag. Though few moments reached iconic status, the winners generally made sure their hard-won moments in the spotlight didn’t go to waste.
Shoddy Production Undercuts Attempted Comeback
For a ceremony intended to rehab the Globes’ reputation, its ramshackle production qualities didn’t exactly scream prestige. Between attention-scattering lighting, awkward stage logistics, and sloppy direction, these overlooked elements critically impacted the disjointed flow. Rather than feeling like Tinseltown’s hottest ticket, the Beverly Hilton ballroom played like an overcrowded high school theater putting on its first variety show.
Multiple winner reactions shots caught nominees in darkness, either barely glimpsed in the margins or outright shrouded in silhouette. This robbed audiences of seeing Steven Yeun and Angela Basset’s live, tearful reactions to their dramatic wins. And why were so many acceptance speeches punctuated by random offscreen laughter and chatter? Better mics may have lowered distracting background noise.
Instead of conjuring Old Hollywood glamour, the venue’s atmosphere looked surprisingly drab on television. And inside, shuffled seating shoved acting nominees into a secondary hotel space entirely. Making Globe victory a lonely walk of shame past rows of indifferent industry players.
Winners often appeared unsure where to stand amidst roaming cameras and a center stage poorly suited for acceptance speeches. The narrow ramp’s positioning meant accolade-winners literally turned their backs while addressing the room and viewers. Plus, traffic jams around the lone mic breathed awkward pauses into already brief acceptance remarks. Surely for this comeback broadcast splurging on multiple mics would have been a wise investment given years of planning.
The flipbolipping telecast itself also needed tighter direction. Jon Hamm’s introduction voiceover was cut off mid-word for a bumpy transition into opening shots. And audio mixing was notably slapdash, at times drowning intros under booming theme songs. Hamm narrated montages which never materialized, indicating last minute clipping. And don’t blame editing for Paul Giametti’s Best Actor speech getting abruptly chopped by crass commercial segue.
Chalk it up to the show’s compressed preparation timeline if you must, but there’s no excuse for flat lighting, distracting audio, and clunky pacing marring a live national broadcast in 2024. Especially not when you’re a formerly disgraced institution begging for industry forgiveness – not to mention network renewal. For audiences, the behind-the-scenes sloppiness came off as yet another indication that this wasn’t Hollywood’s big night so much as an underfunded DIY operation trying way too hard to fake it.
Muted Atmosphere Clashes With Globes Expectations
The freewheeling Golden Globes once thrived on controlled chaos; a loosey goosey antidote to the more solemn Oscars. Celebrities let their meticulously managed hair down, champagne flowed freely, and buzzy unexpected winners were the norm. It was less about the awards themselves than the unscripted spectacle – a tantalizing peek behind the curtain into Tinseltown after dark.
Yet despite months of hype heralding the Globes’ scurrilous revival, the reality proved a surprisingly staid affair. Where were the gasp-inducing upsets? The uninhibited acceptance speeches? The scandalous fashion moments? Aside from Taylor Swift’s withering side-eye when Jo Koy mocked her love life onstage, even the reaction shots felt few and far between.
Winners mostly rushed through routine thank-yous rather than risk lively candor. The new breed of voter tastes skewed conservative both politically and artistically. Fan favorite comedy AND JUST LIKE THAT walked away empty handed while little seen dramedy MAY DECEMBER upset in both film and TV. And top honoree OPPENHEIMER is exactly the kind of polished prestige pic the old guard drooled over.
Presenters stood siloed like wax figures rather than mingling with ease. The relaxed intimacy allowing jump cut reaction shots was nonexistent. Where were the spontaneous interjections and buzzy crowd mumblings enlivening past broadcasts? All signs pointed to a room full of reluctant attendees merely filling seats rather than an enthusiastic community celebrating their peers.
Whether the muted atmosphere stemmed from scaled back drinks, Globe fatigue, or simple lack of preparation time, the missing joviality was impossible to ignore. This should have been the flashy return of Hollywood’s Most Unpredictable Night. Instead, it was a depressingly formal affair indistinguishable from lower tier ceremonies like the Critics Choice or SAG awards. Gather a bunch of celebs, hand out some trophies, cut to commercial. Lather, rinse, repeat.
If the Globes hoped to rebuild their brand post-scandal as the entertainment world’s buzziest party, this year’s sterile, disengaged affair utterly failed to communicate that identity. Neither the new voting body’s choices nor the ceremony itself offered much cause for joy or provocation. And without that unpredictable electricity to set it apart going forward, one must wonder what incentive remains for audiences to ever tune in again.
What’s Next for the Golden Globes?
After years of controversy, the 2024 Golden Globes aimed to come back renewed, relevant, and ready to reclaim Hollywood’s heart. So did the attempted rebranding prove successful or does Tinseltown’s troubled fave still have more work to do? Based on the hit-and-miss broadcast, the future seems uncertain.
The voting body got updated and decisions felt aligned with critical consensus. Yay, progress! But perhaps TOO aligned. Where was the excitement of left-field WTF victories that made the Globes unique? The HFPA may have been problematic, but they kept us guessing. The new unified front leans sensible to a fault.
Without odd upsets, unpredictable antics and envelope-pushing remarks, what makes the Globes must-see TV? This year they failed to showcase a distinct identity beyond yet another self-congratulatory trophy show. TheSTRUCTURE felt identical to countless awardcasts with all the same categories, lackluster comedy bits, and politely boring speeches. Simply axing the open bar and airing on NBC isn’t enough when the content proved equally vanilla.
If the Globes hope to stand out from the pack to justify their controversial existence, they need BIG changes. Hand out trophies for funniest speech! Best viral red carpet moment! Superlative categories actually embracing what makes the Globes buzzy and different! Give nominees wacky challenges during breaks! SOMETHING!!!
In post-scandal purgatory without a longterm network home, the Globes risk fading into irrelevance without another overhaul. There’s too much clutter on the awards circuit already covering the same ground. Why tune in unless you give us something wildly entertaining we can’t get anywhere else?
Maybe flush this botched blueprint and rebuild from scratch with help from a celebrity advisory board. Enough noble intentions and playing it respectable – lean into your messy past! Own the mayhem! That’s what we secretly loved about you all along. Either commit to pushing boundaries or else step aside and let a more daring and diverse ceremony claim Hollywood’s party date of the year. Your move, Globes.
Last Call for the Golden Globes?
In the end, the 2024 Golden Globes failed to make a compelling case for why we still need them. This revamped iteration fixed some glaring issues behind the scenes but retained none of the buzzy magic that once made Globes night Hollywood’s hottest (or at least most scandalous) ticket.
All the controversial elements got stripped away – the tipsiness, the nepotism, even the unpredictability. What emerged instead was a polished but repetitive industry celebration indistinguishable from countless other displays where attractive people clutch trophies. Despite promises of a rowdy revival, this ceremony felt closer to a stuffy shareholder meeting.
And with no network currently contracted to air future Globes telecasts, what incentive remains for audiences to tune in again? The voting body still lacks transparency and may continue favoring the usual suspects. Absent all the warts that arguably gave it charm, this event now offers little beyond run-of-the-mill self-congratulation.
Tonight’s ceremony dragged when it should have sparkled and played it safe when it once made daring choices. Maybe there’s still potential for the Globes to reclaim their mojo if leadership takes bold risks. But based on the tepid 2024 affair, perhaps it’s time to retire the party for good. We’ll always have the memories of charismatic hosts, sloppy speeches and envelope-gate shockers. As for what was formerly Hollywood’s Most Unpredictable Night? Let’s hope its next act offers far more than this predictable whimper of a farewell.
2024 Golden Globes
Rather than making a splashy case for its relevance, the 2024 Golden Globes reboot drowned under inept hosting, shoddy production, and a muted atmosphere offering little beyond vanilla industry back-patting.
- Some genuinely emotional acceptance speeches (Ayo Edebiri, Lily Gladstone)
- Predictable winners lent credibility amid prior controversies
- Show moved briskly with few montages/tributes
- Host Jo Koy delivered a painfully unfunny and awkward monologue
- Presenters struggled with stilted banter and failed comedy bits
- Lackluster production values (lighting, audio, staging logistics)
- Missing drunken revelry and surprises that defined Globes past