The 2022 Golden Globes Proves that TV Can Still Shape Cultural Relevance

The Golden Globes awards were announced last night, January 9. No red carpet. No fanfare. No televised event. Just the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) sending out the names of winners via social media. The full list of winners was later publicized in a press release. It was nothing compared to previous years, where the star-studded event has been known for launching Hollywood’s award season.

The HFPA was hit with controversy in 2021, resulting in the Golden Globes losing its right to broadcast on NBC. And the organization has been looked at with scrutiny more and more over the past few years simply for its makeup. Not only was the organization lacking in diversity, hence the uproar against them in 2021, but they are only made up of around 90 people (as of 2015). A small body of writers have been putting their thumbs on the scales of prestige Hollywood cinema for decades (allegedly, it has been easy for nominees in the past to schmooze their way to a golden statuette).

The apparent question is, why does this relatively tiny organization hold so much power over Hollywood? This year’s Golden Globes ceremony, or lack thereof, is perhaps answering that question with another question: Why do we care about the Golden Globes? Of course, people are drawn to red carpets and lavish ceremonies. The Golden Globes have also had entertainment value for the spirits-inspired spontaneity that the more buttoned-down Academy Awards does not provide. But remove the televised broadcast from the equation, and the actual import of the awards themselves seemingly falls away.

We don’t need the Golden Globes. That’s just an opinion, but it is one that I am seeing echoed throughout whatever online echo chambers have been engineered for me. Some journalists and critics I frequently read have been calling for the end of the Globes’ importance for years. NBC will likely revisit its contract with the HFPA following organizational changes, and we will likely see the Globes ceremony return to television. But who will be watching?

In any case, the winners were announced. And as much as I don’t think the Golden Globes impact the Oscar race as much as people assume that it does (even when there is a telecast), it is worth mentioning the state of the Oscar races.

The Power of the Dog and West Side Story won Best Picture. Both are films which are expected to show up big when the Oscar nominations are announced. Story‘s Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose also won in their respective acting categories. And Jane Campion’s Best Director win may be the only major momentum-shifter coming out of the Golden Globes. The Power of the Dog has been in the Oscar conversation since the start, but a win for Campion here may indicate the start of an awards season sweep.

Other winners from Sunday include Andrew Garfield for Tick, Tick…Boom!, Nicole Kidman for Being the Ricardos, and Will Smith for King Richard. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast won for Best Screenplay, and Encanto won for Best Animated Picture. Drive My Car, which has been racking up Best Picture accolades from various critics organizations, won Best Non-English Language feature.

As always, thanks for reading!

—Alex Brannan (Twitter, Letterboxd, Facebook)

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