While I’m reluctant to admit it, after a year away, the 2023 Golden Globes actually managed to become a thing again. I tuned in only out of professional obligation and because I wanted to see what Jerrod Carmichael had to say, and as awards ceremony monologues go, Carmichael’s was one of the best and the most memorable for any awards ceremony. He sat, relaxed, as he does during his stand-up, and he confidently told the audience exactly why they asked him to host: Because he is Black. He went through all the reservations he had about hosting the Golden Globes but said that he ultimately agreed to do it for, well, the $500,000 they gave him.
If you want to redeem yourself as an organization, this is the only way to do it: Have your worst critic get up in front of a national audience and read you to filth while all the white people in the audience laugh uncomfortably. It was a great monologue, although Carmichael was mostly absent for the rest of the show, save for some spectacular outfit changes and one brutal Tom Cruise/Scientology joke he delivered right before Glen Powell and Jay Ellis — from Top Gun: Maverick — presented an award.
#GoldenGlobes host Jerrod Carmichael makes a dig at Scientology: "Backstage, I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned…I think maybe we take these three things and exchange them for the safe return of Shelly Miscavige." https://t.co/m069JEKekW pic.twitter.com/fw25ng5nU2— Variety (@Variety) January 11, 2023
I’ll admit that I watched the GG’s on delay so that I could fast forward through all the commercials and the boring bits, and it made for a mostly enjoyable ceremony. I was skeptical about all the celebrities returning, but listen: The awards themselves may be meaningless, but the Golden Globes provide one of the very few opportunities for these people to thank all the people who helped them with their careers, in front of millions of people watching at home. There’s still enough juice left in the GG’s to make Twitter trend. The Golden Globes may be a fraudulent organization, but the recipients — especially the first timers — appreciated the recognition, and I was happy for most of them. There were some wonderful speeches, including Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once) thanking Spielberg for the role in Indiana Jones while acknowledging his own fear that his child star past would be the apex of his career.
Tyler James Williams won the third award of the night, right after Ke Huy Quan and Angela Bassett, and it was like, “Oh! This is what happens when you add Black members to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.” (Quinta Brunson and Abbott Elementary were big winners, too.)
Michelle Yeoh also won for Everything Everywhere All at Once, and she refused to let them play her off. “Shut up, please,” she told the orchestra before talking for another 2 minutes.
Two of the other best speeches were that of Jennifer Coolidge, who spent much of her speech thanking Mike White for resurrecting her career, and Mike White, who had to deliver a speech while he was still crying over Coolidge’s speech.
One of my favorite speeches came from Colin Farrell, who spent 20 seconds praising presenter Ana de Armas for her work on Blonde before gushing about his friendship with Brendan Gleeson. It was heartwarming as hell.
Eddie Murphy received the Cecil B. DeMille Award and gave a heartfelt speech, but the entire thing felt like a terrific setup for his Will Smith joke, the second-best joke of the night (after the Shelly Miscavige crack).
I won’t say the ceremony didn’t go off without a few cringey moments. Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s appearance (via video) at a second-rate Hollywood awards ceremony seemed tone deaf, and Ryan Murphy receiving the Carol Burnett Award managed to give a self-indulgent speech even though it was spent entirely praising several of his own longtime actors (Billy Porter, Matt Bomer, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, etc.) for their successes.
Overall, however, it was a reminder of why we used to like watching the Golden Globes back when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler used to host: Because the celebrities were half in the bag and a little looser and the awards never mattered as much as the spectacle. Plus, most of the right people won (except The Fabelmans and Steven Spielberg predictably won Best Picture and Best Director). The Hollywood Foreign Press still has a lot of work to do to redeem itself, but I begrudgingly admit that last night’s ceremony was a step in the right direction. If they ever hire Ricky Gervais to host again, however, I will write them off for good.