After a year of fighting for their very existence, the Golden Globe Awards are returning to television in January 2023, eager to reestablish their relevancy as an Oscar precursor following a yearlong hiatus when NBC opted not to broadcast the ceremony for the first time since 1996. It’s coming back to the network for the Globes’ 80th anniversary on January 10 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT from their traditional Beverly Hilton home, also streamed live on Peacock.
In August, a month before making the September announcement of the Globes’ return to the NBC fold, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made it clear it had learned its lesson, outlining reforms to an organization whose questionable ethics and persistent lack of diversity among its voting membership had spurred a full-scale boycott from many of Hollywood’s elite stars, studios, platforms, executives, talent reps and publicists. Scarlett Johansson, Shonda Rhimes, Mark Ruffalo and Tom Cruise (who gave back his three statuettes) were among the big names calling for a radical Globes makeover.
The HFPA announced it had added 103 new voters to its membership rolls after it slipped to roughly 87 and boasted that the Globe voting bloc was now “52% female and 51.5% racially and ethnically diverse, including 19.5% Latinx, 12% Asian, 10% Black and 10% Middle Eastern.” The association had also earlier voted to sell the Golden Globes to billionaire Todd Boehly and his Eldridge Industries to manage the awards show’s assets and turn it into a for-profit enterprise.
The HFPA’s deal to telecast the Golden Globes runs for only the single year, helping to confirm that at least some in the industry remain wary of how deeply to recommit their support of an awards exercise that came thisclose to becoming extinct. On the flip side of that coin, awards are awards and promotion is promotion, and global broadcast platforms don’t grow on trees.
The one thing everyone agrees is that the Globes will only be as successful as A-list talent is willing for them to be. As a television show, the ceremony is basically their party.
“As a marketing tool, if you’re an Academy Awards contender looking to get nominated, the Globes remain unparalleled,” said one longtime awards publicist who requested anonymity. “Getting your face up there as a presenter is also incredibly important if you want to be in the Oscar game.”
But does that mean some agents, managers and publicists won’t still tell their clients to sit it out? “Some probably will,” he guessed, “but I doubt it will be most. Or even many.”
The publicist also predicted this would be an interesting year for how the Golden Globes tables get populated. “I’m imagining that the people in the Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max projects will get prime placement on equal footing with some of the traditional studios,” he noted.
One marketing rep pointed out that it’s likely to be much closer to the actual ceremony in January before we find out what the level of participation is going to be.
“The one obvious thing is that the nominations will determine a lot of it,” she said. “I still don’t think I live in a world where people who are nominated and have a chance to make a great acceptance speech on television are going to stay away. That isn’t how it works in this town.
“At the same time” she continued, “everyone is poised to do this tap-dance where they don’t want to be the first one in. If you’re Studio A and embracing the Globes again, you’re going to want to make damn sure Studio B is also encouraging its people to attend so you’re not left out there twisting alone in the wind. It’s the ultimate damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t scenario.”
She concluded, “But if I’m going to read the mood of the moment, it’s, ‘Ah what the hell. Let’s do it.’ The Globes are still a big deal for marketing and brand building. And they’re still a bigger deal than the Critics Choice Awards.”
Another awards expert pointed to the fact that the HFPA announced earlier this month that it would be scheduling no press conferences for any movies or TV shows in advance of the Golden Globes. “That tells me they may be serious about reform,” she said. “In the past, the stars had to show up for those if they wanted to have any chance at a nomination or a win.”
Keeping the show in early January – even on a Tuesday night as it will be in 2023 – gives the Globes a continued strategic advantage during awards season. The trophies will be handed out two days before Oscar nomination voting kicks off (January 12) and eight days before final voting for the SAG Awards commences (January 18).
If you’re a film or an individual, getting a win at the Globes just as voting begins for the other awards supplies a hugely valuable boost in building momentum. They have for years spearheaded larger awards campaigns. That isn’t likely to change.
“If you’re a film in need of a press bump, you can’t do better than to have a picture of your talent accepting a Golden Globe,” adds one publicist. “It’s super significant. It’s also a great potential first opportunity for a TV show that launched in the fall to get recognized before kicking off their Emmy campaign in the spring.”
The question, then, isn’t whether the Globes are prized by those who land nominations and victories. They are. As is the case with so much in Hollywood, it’s more about perception (i.e., is the award tainted, or has the HFPA sufficiently addressed its issues to satisfy the gatekeepers who ultimately will decide whether to make the Globes golden again).
“I honestly don’t think it’s going to come down to, ‘Do they finally have enough voter diversity for me to support them?’” believes the longtime awards publicist. “I think it’s more a matter of seeing if the organization has sincerely worked to change its approach and giving them a second chance. I’d be inclined to give it to them.”
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