While the word tends to be tossed around with reckless abandon, the Golden Globes were literally canceled.
NBC pulled the plug on the 2022 telecast following a year of upheaval and backlash surrounding the movie and television awards event. The trouble initially stemmed from a February 2021 Los Angeles Times report that revealed the Globes’ voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, had exactly zero Black members, along with alleged kickbacks and improper benefits for its member journalists among other questions concerning the body’s integrity.
In subsequent weeks, the industry collectively turned its back on the HFPA and Globes as additional stories flooded the media, including reports of sometimes racist, sometimes sexist behavior among its 87 members. While some of the HFPA’s indiscretions were open secrets in Hollywood, the cumulative effect became daunting as studios and publicity agencies pulled their support. Tom Cruise sent back his awards. And then came what appeared to be a fatal blow in May 2021 as NBC, the Globes’ longtime broadcast partner, announced it would not air the 2022 ceremony.
In the two years since the Times’ exposé, the HFPA has enacted a series of reforms, expanding its membership, diversifying its ranks and implementing new ethical codes.
Now, one year after a humbling, untelevised, closed-doors ceremony held only for HFPA members and select guests — with nary a celebrity in sight — the Globes return to the airwaves Tuesday night on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and hosted by rising comedy star Jerrod Carmichael.
So are the Globes officially back back? That remains to be seen with an event that, as The Hollywood Reporter proclaims, is “an audition for its future.” Here are five burning questions in the run up to the festivities.
1. Will host Jerrod Carmichael be up for roasting duty?
Carmichael is a huge get for the HFPA. He’s not a household name, especially compared to previous hosts — and he’d be the first to tell you that if you saw his monologue on Saturday Night Live. But he’s one of stand-up’s fastest rising stars.
The Globes have given their hosts free rein to mock the institution, which Ricky Gervais made into an art form, never missing a chance to take a shot at the HFPA, and Hollywood in general, over six hosting gigs between 2010 and 2020. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey were only slightly kinder in four stints between 2013 and 2021. Carmichael will have plenty of material to work with this year. It would be a shock (and super-disappointing, frankly) if he doesn’t take aim at all those huge elephants in the room.
2. Will the winners actually be there?
This is the question of the night. Since the backlash began, the most outspoken critics of the Globes have been the industry’s most powerful publicists, with a coalition of more than 100 issuing stern demands for HFPA reform. The publicists, of course, represent the nominated talent, so good luck having an awards show without their support. It’s unclear how many publicists are back on the Globes train now, with many debating whether the HFPA has instituted enough reform.
A major question mark is the aforementioned Cruise, who returned his three Golden Globes to protest the HFPA’s improprieties — and also starred in 2022’s highest-grossing movie, Top Gun Maverick, which is nominated for Best Picture, Drama. Is there any chance Cruise makes up with the HFPA and crashes the party?
One nominee we know for certain won’t be attending is Brendan Fraser, an awards favorite for his transformative “comeback” performance playing a 600-pound gay college professor in The Whale. In 2018, Fraser said he was sexually assaulted 15 years earlier by then-HFPA President Philip Berk, and that the trauma from the 2003 incident had a devastating effect on his career. (It wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see the “new” HFPA give Fraser the Globe for Best Actor, Drama in a gesture of reconciliation.)
It would certainly be awkward if favorites like Cate Blanchett (Tár), Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Adam Scott (Severance) and Zendaya (Euphoria) are announced as winners, only to be missing in action. (See the full list of nominees here.)
There are some top-tier celebrities who have stood by the Globes and agreed to serve as presenters — including Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Salma Hayek and Jennifer Hudson — but the overall roster is decidedly less bold-faced than usual.
3. Will the Globes’ winners be legit?
The HFPA is notorious for nominating celebrities for, well, being celebrities in order to guarantee a starry made-for-TV party. For example, the 2010 film The Tourist scored three nominations in the Musical/Comedy categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress) despite being neither a musical nor comedy — nor a very good movie. It was a transparent ploy to get Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, two of the biggest movie stars at the time, to attend.
There were no major Tourist-type nominees this year, but we’ll see who gets called to the podium. And that leads to our next question...
4. Will there be any diversity among the winners?
The Los Angeles Times’ revelation that the HFPA did not have any Black members damaged the organization’s credibility; if that wasn’t bad enough, The Wrap subsequently reported HFPA members often skipped screenings and events for Black-led film and television projects like Bridgerton, Queen & Slim and Girls Trip.
This year features a relatively diverse roster of worthy nominees that includes Yeoh, Zendaya, Viola Davis (The Woman King), Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever), Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere), Quinta Brunson (Abbott Elementary), Donald Glover (Atlanta) and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary). There will be much scrutiny over how many people of color actually score a statuette.
5. Will the show actually be entertaining?
Here’s a little secret about the Golden Globes: The awards don’t really matter all that much. They have historically been voted on by a group of 80-something relatively obscure journalists as opposed to the thousands of film professionals who vote on the Oscars.
Instead, the Globes are meant to be more entertaining than the Oscars. We want funny jokes, buzzed celebrities (unlike the Oscars, attendees are often drinking at their seats) and water-cooler moments. We want Natalie Portman savaging the list of all-male directing nominees. We want the host to let loose on the HFPA.
We want emotional moments, too. The best chance for that this year could come with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, which will go to comedy legend Eddie Murphy — who will also probably be the biggest star in attendance.
But with the Globes moving from their usual Sunday slot to a Tuesday in this time of transition, and award-show ratings plummeting in recent years, there's one more question to ponder: Will anybody even be watching?