The Speeches That Saved the Golden Globes

If you live outside of Los Angeles, with a For Your Consideration billboard, I have a question for you: Did you know that the Golden Globes were televised last night?

If you haven’t, there’s a good reason: NBC pulled the show last year after a Los Angeles Times Exposé claims that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the small, insignificant voting group behind the awards, has no diversity in its membership and engages in questionable cultural and financial practices. . This year, the network committed to a one-time trial by airing the Globes, but many industry analysts and pundits have questioned whether the show could return to the scandal. IndieWire put it under the headline: “Will the Golden Globes survive?”

Of course they did. Last night, the show went on: Celebrities faced each other in the ballroom. The trophy was handed out, and there was a standing ovation. But if the ceremony felt like a success, it wasn’t because the HFPA was kind to journalists who shunned their talent. The show was not only because many of the winners spoke candidly in front of their peers about their work, but also because they are the kind of entertainers who rarely get the chance to do so.

Just look at how the actor Ke Huy Quan, who won his supporting role, works Everything everywhere at once, seemed to be shaking on stage. He explains how he thinks back to his time as a child actor — he played Short Round Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom– to define their work. “As I got older, I started to wonder if that was it, if it was just luck,” he said. “For years, I was afraid I didn’t have anything left to offer — that whatever I did, it wouldn’t surpass what I did when I was young.”

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His co-star, actress Michelle Yeoh, echoed the feelings of fear and resignation in her acceptance speech shortly after. “I remember when I first came to Hollywood — it was a dream come true until I got here,” he said. “Because look at this face. I came here, and was told, ‘You are few.’ ” Hours later, The White LotusJennifer Coolidge also talked about her doubts, even though she joked about being invited to the party. “I want everyone to know that I had such big dreams and expectations when I was young,” he said. “They’re getting stronger.”

Unlike the usual awards show speeches, it’s all recognition for the staff and inspirational voices for those watching at home. These are confessions—and not just from actors. Steven Spielberg, after winning Best Director, told the room how to do it The Fabelmans allowing him to see honestly that “no one knows who we are”, and “everyone thinks of me as a success story”. Ryan Murphy, who won the Golden Globe honor, used his time on stage to win over some of the biggest stars of the show and movies, including Billy Porter and Michaela Jaé Rodriguez. He reminded the audience that these artists spent most of their careers not being able to work because of their gender.

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The format of the show failed to inspire such self-reflection. Despite widespread concern over whether the Globes would get a star-studded presence, in the end, the ceremony itself held a low-key event. An announcement was made in the last half hour of the show that the HFPA was undergoing “major changes”, revealing the group’s internal reforms, including the introduction of a black journalist, a ban on gifts to members to him, and the creation of a hotline for public transportation. . The host, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, berated the HFPA for not admitting a black member to its ranks before the exposé. Carmichael was, in his own way, very thoughtful. He explained how he resolved the moral question of being the “black face of a white, embattled organization,” but he explained the problems within the organization. “Whatever happens [HFPA’s] may be, this is an evening we celebrate, and I think this industry deserves an evening like this,” said Carmichael. “I’m glad you’re all here.”

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Perhaps the question of whether the Globes will return to their former glory is misplaced. At issue is whether the awards show should exist despite declining ratings and interest. What are they, other than an opportunity for the insular world to boast? Conventional wisdom in Hollywood says that these ceremonies provide a good boost to the public: they allow overlooked movies and TV shows to finally catch the public’s attention. Studios took their time to come out with a free release after the Globes; that’s what happened to 1917 in 2020.

But last night explained, accidentally, that such a function can be a valuable platform for authentic storytelling. Of course, the precious seconds on the stage before the start of the play-off music were meant to be used to thank all the colleagues since then, but the memorable winners gave speeches that were not about their own projects . They talked about doubt, about regret, about the kind of fear that can overwhelm anyone who tries to make a dream come true. Hollywood may seem like a glitzy, inaccessible business — especially during black-tie parties populated by A-listers — but amid these suspenseful and angsty stories, the industry isn’t far behind. .


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