Saturday, July 13, 2024

The Globes Are Coming! The Troubled Awards Show Stages a Comeback

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With the 80th Golden Globe Awards on NBC just days away (Tuesday, January 10) after a two-year hiatus, some big questions are finally getting answered. For instance: Given all the accusations leveled against its governing body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is anyone even going to show up for this disabled gala?

Crushed by scandals involving racism, financial shenanigans and sexual harassment that first broke in the spring of 2021, the celebrity-fueled gala was canceled in 2022, and the HFPA has spent the better part of two years (coerced by many of the major PRs in town) attempting to—or being forced to—alter its policies, and then alter them further. Let’s face it, you can’t stage a Golden Globes show without stars—big stars. Minus stars, it is no show at all; it’s always been billed as “Hollywood’s biggest party,” built around the notion that the champagne sponsor will manage to help many of the stars get tipsy and say silly things.

The Whale‘s Brendan Fraser, nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, already announced that he will not show up, recalling an incident in 2018 where he claims then-HFPA president Phillip Berk groped him at a lunch. Will Tom Cruise—whose Top Gun: Maverick is nominated for Best Motion Picture, Drama—show up despite having already returned his three Globes in May 2021 when the HFPA controversy was at its height?

It’s the first Golden Globes in two years, between lockdown and the many ghosts that have haunted/taunted the Hollywood Foreign Press since the Los Angeles Times first aired its dirty secrets. NBC held out till this past September to even give the group one more shot at a show—a one-show production deal they can cancel if they’re not happy with the result (ie, ratings). The HFPA looked doomed to implosion till Todd Boehly, former owner of The Hollywood Reporter, stepped in as a white knight to save them from likely obscurity.

We do now know two major Murphys will show up: Eddie Murphy and Ryan Murphy. They are both receiving major awards with precedents: Ryan Murphy, the fourth Carol Burnett Award (only fours year in existence), for his body of work and lasting impact on television. Eddie Murphy will be the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, for his lasting contribution to the world of entertainment in general. The double cred of two Murphys is actually enough to get other major figures to show up.

Eddie Murphy (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Ryan Murphy (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

And they are. Presenters confirmed as of this posting include Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Colman Domingo, Natasha Lyonne, Billy Porter, Niecy Nash-Betts, Ana Gasteyer, MJ Rodriguez, Nicole Bayer and Tracy Morgan. Nominees confirmed include Steven Spielberg, Michelle Williams and Tony Kushner (The Fabelmans); Austin Butler (Elvis); Daniel Craig (Glass Onion); director Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave); Indian hit film RRR director S.S. Rajamouli and stars N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan; and All Quiet on the Western Front stars Felix Kammerer and Daniel Bruhl.

Steven Spielberg (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Also confirmed: directors James Cameron (Avatar: The Way of Water), Rian Johnson (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery), Guillermo del Toro (Pinocchio) and Lukas Dhont of the Cannes-winning Belgian film Close. In the TV nominee category: Kevin Costner (Yellowstone), Julia Garner (Inventing Anna), Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinger (Hacks), Wednesday star Jenna Ortega, Jessica Chastain (George & Tammy), Andrew Garfield (Under the Banner of Heaven), Sheryl Lee Ralph (Abbott Elementary), Elizabeth Debicki (The Crown) and The Bear breakout Jeremy Allen White are also confirmed. Not a bad initial list.

But what about those mega watt nominees: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Margot Robbie, Julia Roberts, Olivia Colman, Colin Farrell, Angela Bassett? So far, no word. Nada. But given that Oscar nomination voting opens January 12 and goes until January 17, I’d say the outlook is good. Everyone wants their face to show on the television sets of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members—all nine grand of them.

What of best song nominees playing on the show —Taylor Swift, Rihanna or Lady Gaga? Gaga is shooting her co-starring role as Harley Quinn with Joaquin Phoenix in Joker: Folie a Deux. Taylor Swift and Rihanna are normally kind of busy. It would be a big coup to get these stars on the Beverly Hilton hotel stage.

The host of the 80th Golden Globes will be 35 year old comedian Jerrod Carmichael; he’s done several HBO stand up comedy specials, plus three seasons of The Carmichael Show on Peacock. His SNL hosting stint last April probably landed him the gig. Meanwhile, the hosting role apparently was offered to him after getting offered to Eddie Murphy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and Dave Chappele, who all passed on it—for a lot more money than Carmichael’s getting. However, it could open the stand-up comic up to a much bigger audience. It’s a tough gig: you’ve got to please Hollywood, NBC and a constantly shrinking audience.

Jerrod Carmichael (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images,)

While the star turnout quotient could end up tipped toward maximum, the party quotient has been curtailed by 95 percent. The always bustling lobby of the Beverly Hilton has served as black tie and gown gridlock for decades, as stars have shuffled from In Style’s annual fete to HBO/Warner Bros, attending private agency fetes after that. This year, they’ll have to settle for house and hotel after-parties, along with one lone party at the Beverly Hilton, hosted by Billboard—more likely to attract music types, not film or television stars.

Normally, the high-profile BAFTA tea on Globes weekend takes place the Saturday before the show. This year, it is scheduled for January 14, the day before the Critics’ Choice Awards. Netflix will host big a party this weekend—but it doesn’t state any connection to the Golden Globes. Warner Bros. will host a party for Elvis’s birthday (January 8) with Baz Luhrman and Austin Butler holding court but, again, no Globes mention on that invite either. Lots of stars are in town for the whole week next week—the Critics Choice Awards are Sunday January 15.

Todd Boehly of Eldridge Industries (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)

So how did Todd Boehly, a mostly-under-the-radar finance and show businessman, bring the Globes back from the almost dead? Who is he, anyway? The 49 year-old billionaire went to the London School of Economics, is the founder and CEO of the holding company Eldridge Industries, invested in many areas. By 2015, he was the owner of The Hollywood Reporter, Dick Clark Productions (which produces The Golden Globes) and the L.A. Dodgers. Eldridge is invested in digital companies, insurance companies and entertainment companies like MRC, with which he co-owns THR with Penske Media.

In 2021, Boehly seemed to save the day when he was named interim CEO of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, later on acquiring the group and giving it both non-profit and profit entities. Essentially, what he did: turn the HFPA into a private venture by purchasing it and now managing its assets. The deal gives Boehly and Eldridge Industries domain over the Golden Globes, which means he can enforce all the things the group was accused of abusing: diversity regulation, financial affairs, behavioral issues, actor press conferences. This way, the groups of Hollywood celebrity PR’s can now be assured the group won’t abuse its privileges again. And his Eldridge-owned Dick Clark Productions are producing the show for NBC once again, as they’ve done for decades.

One more difference this year: E! Entertainments’ annual insipid red carpet pre-show will finally get a little competition to their “Are you excited tonight????” Variety will produce a digital pre-show with the HFPA that will air at 3:30 PT on Tuesday, Jan. 10 on, which will likely have a more insider entertainment feel.

Cate Blanchett hits the 62nd Annual Globes carpet, elegantly (Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage)

One definite: it will be a great night for designer fashion, what with nominees Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Julia Roberts, Anya Taylor-Joy, Michelle Williams and Margot Robbie likely to wow on the first Globes red carpet in years. Expect more sheer dresses, more lingerie peaking out, icy pastel colors, silver sequins—even beaded bodysuits.

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