Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Golden Globes are back, for some reason

Snoop Dogg poses following the nominations event for 79th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Dec. 13 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The award show will be held Sunday.  (Chris Pizzello)
By Chris Hewitt (minneapolis) Star Tribune

If a Golden Globe statuette topples off a podium and no one is around to hear, does it still make a sound?

We’ll find out Sunday, when the awards – which kick off back-patting season in Hollywood – are handed out. Or maybe we won’t. According to the Los Angeles Times, publicists are scrambling to get celebs to throw on some sequins and show up but the affair will be what could charitably be called spare, in any case. No host, no recipients, no red carpet, no tipsy acceptance speeches at the event, which in the past was an excuse for your Meryl Streeps and Denzel Washingtons to schmooze and visit the open bar early and often.

There’s also no television broadcast, unless a channel steps in at the last minute. As a result, this year’s Globes seem likely to slip into the irrelevance they’ve merited as far back as when stars such as Pia Zadora and Sharon Stone were buying their way into the hearts of voters with lavish gifts and dinners.

How did the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hands out the Globes, get here? Cozying up to stars like Stone has been baked into the Globes since they were first handed out in 1944, so a Rolex watch between friends – or, at least, stars pretending to be friends with a few dozen foreign journalists – isn’t the issue.

Narrow-mindedness is. Even as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler presided over an awkward ceremony last year, there were murmurs that the Globes were way behind the times in acknowledging the TV and film work of artists of color and women (Natalie Portman famously took a jab at “the all-male nominees” when presenting the directing prize in 2018).

The Globes – and, to be fair, other awards shows, to a less egregious degree – have routinely ignored films such as “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The L.A. Times looked into that after last year’s show and discovered that the HFPA had zero Black members at the time, also revealing a racket in which the HFPA paid its own members to do vague projects for the organization. Many stars decried the irregularities and some, including Tom Cruise, reportedly sent their Globes back.

The main reasons for the Globes were always to get us thinking about awards contenders and treat us to a giddy show with fancy frocks and soused superstars. Without the latter, what can we expect Sunday?

Theoretically, the awards could begin to shape a season that’s unusually wide open. By this time last year, Globe and Oscar winner “Nomadland” already had established itself as a powerhouse.

This year’s race is even, however, with Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” looking like the sort of international film that could appeal to both organizations. Best drama competitors “CODA,” “King Richard” and “The Power of the Dog” also are contenders (“Dune” is nominated but doesn’t have a ton of awards traction yet).

Since the Globes divide best picture into “drama” and “musical/comedy” categories, it’s also worth considering “Cyrano,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “West Side Story” as films that could make noise in the next few months of red carpeting.

The Globes might build momentum for Will Smith, whose “King Richard” could finally earn him an Oscar. It’ll also be interesting to watch the best director category, where, if Portman still cares, she’ll be delighted to see two female nominees: Jane Campion for “Power” and Maggie Gyllenhaal for “The Lost Daughter.”

There’s a good chance Portman is over it, though. It’s not even clear how much the Globes care, since they didn’t announce plans for Sunday until five days before the presentation. Portman isn’t up for an award but the stars and filmmakers who do win can expect their baubles in a few days, according to the L.A. Times.

Like those L.L. Bean catalogs and Easter Seals stickers that the letter carrier delivers whether you want them or not, the trophies reportedly will be mailed to winners.