The Golden Globes are still a mess – but there is some hope

Oh boy: Comedian Jo Koy hosting the Golden Globe awards.


Yeah, the show was a mess. Comedian Jo Koy did such a bad job as host you had to feel sorry for him – poor bastard – and the ratings were lousy.

Widely reported was how the 9.4 million viewers doubled last year’s number, which sounds like a triumph. But it wasn’t. Not so widely reported was how puny that viewership actually is. In 2021 the Oscars scored its lowest viewership ever: 10.4 million. A telling point of comparison.

Put frankly, the Golden Globes is on a desperate crusade to repair its reputation and standing, especially after the recent scandals over corruption and unethical conduct, with its tiny pool of voters and love of payola only two issues it is eager to put behind it.

The voting system is still a mess, just a bigger one. Now the shebang is clumsily drawing judgement not from a few dozen foreign press reporters based in Hollywood but from an international and “diverse” assemblage of around 300 journalists – a brave move, indeed, at a time when the credibility of “diversity” is under such scrutiny.

A far more meaningful revamp would surely have been to adopt an industry-based voting system, like the Oscars, Screen Actors Guild and Director’s Guild awards.

Awarding Oppenheimer most of the big awards came off as a lurch for relevance, given how the acclaimed film is likely to sweep the Oscars.

And while the organization is allegedly eager to distance itself from its history of sucking up to people and studios, this year it introduced a new award that reeks of bum smooching – the Cinematic and Box Office Achievement Award.

This award offers a golden opportunity for the Golden Globes to kiss the ass of a big hit film. Predictably, the first winner was Barbie, another blatant grab for relevance by association.

And what does the award actually reward, exactly? Studio marketing campaigns that cost hundreds of millions? How is that an award-worthy achievement?

A far more meaningful win would have been Sound of Freedom, the low-budget film that saw huge box office success despite having almost no marketing profile. The film wasn’t even nominated.

As woeful as it still is, the Golden Globes does have one big thing going for it, and that is the A-list crowd it draws. Tom Cruise might not have turned up – he famously handed back his three Golden Globe bug crushers in 2021 in response to the scandals – but almost everybody else of note did.

The big names were everywhere, so the awards obviously must mean something. Even Ricky Gervais got one for his “controversial” comedy show Armageddon – another new award called Best Stand-Up Special – though it was probably a de facto thank you for how his now-famous hosting gigs injected some much-needed life into an awards ritual that is still ailing and struggling for life.

Another sign that there is hope for the Golden Globes is that it is still often referred to as a “preview of the Oscars”, even though that claim can’t survive even the most cursory survey.

This suggests that, for all its many faults and failings, the ceremony is still wanted as a fixture of the awards season. If only the quest to minimize the taint and get some real respect was not a task more daunting than hosting the thing.