Can (and Should) Anything Replace the Golden Globes?
The Golden Globes are gone, at least for a year, and jockeying for that show’s spot on the awards calendar has begun.
On Wednesday, two days after NBC announced that it will not broadcast the 2022 Golden Globes ceremony to give the Hollywood Foreign Press Association more time to reform, the Critics Choice Awards claimed the date of Sunday, Jan. 9 for its 27th annual ceremony. That is almost certainly the date that the Golden Globes would have been held, if studios and NBC had not finally insisted that the HFPA solve its deep-seated problems, which include a lack of diversity and questionable journalistic ethics.
On Friday, two days after the Critics Choice announcement, the Hollywood Critics Association said that its film awards ceremony would take place on Thursday, Jan. 6, which would also place it in the time frame in which the Globes normally claim.
In a normal year, the days leading up to the Globes are one of the busiest times on the awards calendar, with other organizations taking advantage of the influx of talent that comes to Los Angeles in early January. Along with multiple parties that crowd the schedule on that weekend, the American Film Institute typically holds its annual awards luncheon on the Friday before the Globes, while the Film Independent Spirit Awards Brunch and the BAFTA Los Angeles Awards Season Tea Party take place on Saturday, the day before the Globes ceremony.
But can another awards show step in and claim the Globes’ spot as the No. 2 show, second only to the Oscars, on the awards calendar? And do we need anybody in that spot? Here are contenders.
The Critics Choice Awards
The Critics Choice Association, which started in the mid-1990s as the Broadcast Film Critics Association and later expanded to include TV awards, is the closest thing to a more respectable version of the HFPA, which is to say that it’s a larger and more diverse group made up of Hollywood press. (Full disclosure: I am a member, as are several other writers for TheWrap.)
As an organization of journalists that gives out awards for both film and television, the CCA would like nothing better than to become the go-to awards show in early January. It also has a televised awards show on The CW, though its ratings are typically anemic — and the fact that it has already announced that its 2022 ceremony will be tape-delayed in the Pacific time zone is an admission that it’s not really ready to gun for the Globes spot.
The Critics Choice Awards have also spent years attempting to figure out what they want to be: After a spell trying to play up their status as a pretty reliable Oscar predictor by matching the Academy almost category for category, they’ve been chasing ratings by introducing action-movie and comedy categories and then launching a string of additional shows: reality-TV awards, documentary awards, “Super Awards” for comic-book and sci-fi movies, a celebration of Black cinema, etc. At a time when there’s increased scrutiny on who’s giving out awards — hence the fall of the HFPA — the CCA would need to give the industry more reason to take them seriously.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards
The SAG Awards are in the best position to be the No. 2 show behind the Oscars next year: The guild also has a TV deal, more respect within the industry and the appeal of lots of movie and television stars. That gives SAG a leg up on everything else. If SAG decides to move its show earlier in January, it could at least be the kind of show that other events would coalesce around.
But while a show that honors only a single craft, acting, delivers the stars, it feels limited by its very nature. The Globes didn’t go much for below-the-line categories, but they also saluted producers, directors, writers and composers, and it would be odd to expect an actors-only show into its slot.
The SAG Awards are also nowhere near as popular: In this pandemic year, the live-virtual hybrid Globes show managed 6.9 million viewers, while the shortened and pre-taped SAG Awards only drew 957,000. And if you go back a year to the non-COVID days of early 2020, the Globes drew 18.4 million and SAG just 2 million.
All the Hollywood guilds
Here’s an idea that was floated on Twitter: The Hollywood guilds and professional organizations should get together and start a new televised show called the Guild Awards. It would have credibility, but the sheer number of awards given out by the groups is staggering. Just the four major guilds — SAG, the Writers Guild, Directors Guild and Producers Guild — hand out 64 categories between them, and that doesn’t include more than a dozen other awards, including those from the American Cinema Editors, American Society of Cinematographers, Art Directors Guild, Cinema Audio Society, Costume Designers Guild, Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild, Motion Picture Sound Editors and Visual Effects Society.
Do you give them each one or two awards on one big show? Do you create a new batch of categories and let all the guilds vote in every category? Can you possibly get them all to work together in harmony?
The logistics are formidable but the prospect is intriguing.
An entirely new show
Can you create a new Globes from scratch? If the HFPA can’t fix itself in a thorough and substantial way, Dick Clark Productions and NBC could try to do that. (DCP’s parent company already owns most of the Hollywood trade publications, which could offer be a disconcerting wrinkle.) But does the industry really want the Golden Globes so badly that it would embrace a hasty, calculated substitute? Its willingness to jettison the show suggests not.
A better Golden Globes
Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doubles or triples its membership, gives up the ridiculous perks, stops asking embarrassing questions at press conferences and refashions itself as an organization with journalistic credibility. Maybe Hollywood accepts what they’ve done and the Globes goes back to being the Globes — an awards show that can be fun because the stakes aren’t very high — without the industry having to look away from the many problems it’s always chosen to ignore.
I wouldn’t bet on it, but maybe.
Do we need something to “replace” the Golden Globes? Do we need a No. 2 show in awards season? No, we don’t. The Globes have been little more than a sideshow for years; the HFPA has never changed awards-season narratives or helped Oscar voters figure out what to do or given movies a significant box-office boost. If the Globes go away and don’t come back, things will move around but before long we’ll go back to worrying about how to save the Oscars.