The Golden Globes Winners Were Newbies (Because Diversity *Actually* Works)

For the first time in a long time, the Golden Globes were actually worth tuning into again. The annual ceremony, which took place at Los Angeles’ Beverly Hilton Hotel, kicked off awards season, and even through your TV screen it was clear the atmosphere was electric. Not necessarily because the show was exciting to watch (in fact, it all was pretty stale), but the one saving grace was that many of the first-time nominees were actually winning
First-time nominees Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ali Wong, Steven Yeun, Matthew MacFadyen, Lily Gladstone, and Ayo Edebiri took home awards for their work in some of Hollywood’s greatest films and TV shows this past year, like The Holdovers, Beef, Succession, Killers Of The Flower Moon, and The Bear. Other first-time winners included director Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy for Oppenheimer, Kieran Culkin for Succession, and Elizabeth Debicki for The Crown
We shouldn’t be surprised though, because this shift isn’t coming out of nowhere. In June 2023, the Golden Globes announced that Dick Clark Production had acquired all the rights for the show from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), essentially disbanding the HFPA, a body of 90 industry insiders that controlled voting at the Golden Globes since the show’s inception in 1944. And if you didn’t know, they were terrible.
ICYMI, the Golden Globes have been the awards show equivalent of a hot mess for many years. A 2021 LA Times investigation found that when it came to diversity in its voting members, the HFPA just straight up wasn’t, with the investigation finding that there were no Black members in the group. It was a big deal since these were the people who chose the Golden Globes nominees and winners every year. And when you don’t diversify, you end up with the same people — and types of people — winning again and again, excluding many new actors and specifically people of colour who haven’t historically had the same access or platform in Hollywood. Not only that, but by nominating and awarding certain art and artists repeatedly, a big swath of viewers were left scratching their heads and feeling unseen. 
In response, 2022 was a reckoning of sorts, leading to an industry-wide boycott and the show being dropped by NBC. After a last-ditch effort for diversity by the HFPA in 2023, NBC dropped the award’s show. Now on CBS, this year is the first ceremony post-HFPA, with the Golden Globes now employing 300 journalists from around the world, including voters from countries like Armenia, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Serbia. According to the Golden Globes, the new voting body is 47% female, and 60% racially and ethnically diverse, with 26.3% Latinx, 13.3% Asian, 11% Black, and 9% Middle Eastern.
And you could feel that change during this year’s awards show, reflected in the nominees and winners. As many have pointed out, this year’s nominations felt more in line with popular culture, with fan faves — and feminist — movies like Greta Gerwig’s Barbie taking home a record-number of nominations. According to Variety, this year’s show had almost 30 first-time nominees, a Golden Globes record. 
So what does it all mean? Unsurprisingly to many, ethnic, gendered, and cultural diversity makes a difference, leading to a range of interesting, exciting projects, and artists who are telling different kinds of stories that deserve the spotlight. Diversity gives us incredible art in front of the camera, like South Korean-Canadian director Celine Song’s Past Lives, but also great moments like MacFadyen referring to his Succession villain Tom Wambsgans as a “human grease stain,” or Edebiri thanking her agents’ assistants in her acceptance speech. 
You get different perspectives. And that’s worth a lot.
Sunday’s Globes wasn’t a night of total wins. Riverdale actor and first-time nominee Charles Melton, who wrenched our hearts in May December, lost to Robert Downey Jr. for Best Supporting Actor despite being considered a shoo-in. (It should be noted that RDJ *did* address the voting changeover in his acceptance speech, telling the Golden Globes journalists, “Thanks for changing your name, therefore changing your game!” And despite receiving nine nominations, tying 1972’s Cabaret, Barbie — the heralded feminist film lauded by awards execs and raking in over USD $1.4 billion at the box office — only went home with awards for Best Song and new category Cinematic and Box Office Achievement (which sort of feels like it was created to give the pink-flavoured movie some kind of honorary recognition). 
But that doesn’t mean we should necessarily give up hope. The 2024 awards season is still young, and with this visible change to kick off the season, audiences and fans are taking note — and hopefully awards shows and voting bodies are too.
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