At the revamped Golden Globes, broadcast on CBS for the first time, the news of the night was that, save for one or two genuine shocks, everything unfolded pretty much as had been widely predicted.
First-time host Jo Koy presided over the telecast, which took place, as always, at the Beverly Hilton. During his largely jokeless monologue, he did a bit about how Barry Keoghan’s penis in “Saltburn” somehow ended up as Bradley Cooper’s nose in “Maestro,” and made an Ozempic joke that involved “The Color Purple.” So one could say that the biggest snub of the night was the one Koy created for his own career.
There were, however, some key categories that held surprises — especially in that Globes voters seemed so allergic to “Barbie” that we could almost hear them say, “Bye, Barbie!”
“Barbie” Loses Best Comedy to “Poor Things”
The Musical/Comedy category at the Globes is so often subject to category fraud — recent winners here include gut-busters “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Martian” — that this year it was a relief to know that “Barbie,” a genuinely funny movie primarily designed to make people laugh, was a total shoo-in to win. And then it didn’t win!
Instead, “Poor Things” landed the biggest upset of the night on a show with very few of them. The film follows Bella Baxter (Emma Stone, who won female actor in a Musical/Comedy earlier in the night), a woman whose brain has been transplanted with an infant’s, as she develops her own peculiar outlook on herself, her sexuality, and the world. It is also genuinely funny, and in many respects serves as a companion to “Barbie’s” own distinctive explication of the nature of what it means to be a woman in the world. And while its win is certainly good news for Stone (who also produced) and director Yorgos Lanthimos, “Barbenheimer” fans and entertainment media headline writers were robbed of the twin winners in drama and comedy promised by this year’s Globes, and for that, we are genuinely sad.
Taylor Swift Loses the New “Popular” Globe to “Barbie”
In 2018, the Oscars briefly considered honoring the year’s most popular films, only to run screaming from it. To which the Globes said, hold my Champagne, and nominated eight movies in the brand new category called “cinematic and box office achievement.” Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to see “Barbie” — literally the most popular movie of 2023, with $1.4 billion in box office grosses worldwide to its name — take home this prize. But Taylor Swift was also nominated here, for her industry redefining concert film “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour,” the highest grossing documentary and concert film of all time, with $261.6 million worldwide.
As mentioned, “Barbie” lost best musical or comedy to “Poor Things,” capping off a disappointing night for Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s blockbuster, so this award ended up being a consolation prize. But still, why bother nominating Taylor Swift, and inviting her to the show, if she’s not also going to win? The old Globes would’ve made certain Swift made it to the stage.
“Anatomy of a Fall” Beats “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” for Screenplay
Both “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” earned their success and acclaim in no small part due to the daring and inventiveness of their screenplays, by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, and Christopher Nolan, respectively. But these two behemoths lost instead to the writers of “Anatomy of a Fall,” a French courtroom thriller about a novelist (nominee Sandra Hüller) on trial for the death of her husband. Director Justine Triet and her co-writer Arthur Harari seemed genuinely floored to be winning. The movie later went on to win the Globe for best non-English language film, an expected win, so that could have given it momentum. And while the Hollywood Foreign Press is no longer a thing, Globes voting body is still made up of international journalists. But still, this was a real surprise! (And in “Barbie’s” case, a portent of snubs to come.)
Elizabeth Debicki Beats Meryl Streep in TV Supporting Actress
Whatever else happens in Elizabeth Debicki’s career, she can say — to quote Jennifer Lawrence, by way of “The First Wives Club” — “I beat Meryl!” Yes, Debicki won for playing the doomed Princess Diana in the final season of Netflix’s “The Crown.” Oddsmakers had Streep going home with the trophy for her role in Season 3 of “Only Murders in the Building,” and if not Streep, then perhaps Hannah Waddingham for the third season of “Ted Lasso.”
Debicki’s well-earned victory is also a curiosity, in that it marks the second time a performer has won a Globe for the same role: Emma Corrin won TV Actress for playing Diana in Season 4 of “The Crown” in 2021.
Ricky Gervais Wins New Stand-Up Award
Ricky Gervais — who’s in the phase of his career during which he predominately makes jokes about how controversial he is — won this award for his Netflix special “Armageddon,” proving once more that he continues to be a mainstream comedian, and is in no way canceled. Gervais hosted the Globes five times, in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2020, but in no way are we suggesting that put him over the top with the voting body, beating perceived favorite Chris Rock for his own Netflix special, “Selective Outrage.”
“The Boy and the Heron” Beats “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” for Animated Film
Listen, we’re kind of stretching at this point. Yes, “Across the Spider-Verse” was a gargantuan hit, one of the only successful superhero movies of the year, and just as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, 2018’s “Into the Spider-Verse,” which won the Globe in this category. But the film that beat “Across the Spider-Verse,” “The Boy and the Heron,” was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, a living legend in animation who came out of retirement at 83 to make the most personal film of his career. And it made history by opening at the top of the domestic box office in December.
But this year’s Globes were so flipping predictable that we’re including it here anyway, if only to recognize both of these films as two of the very best of the year.
Variety parent company PMC owns Golden Globes producer Dick Clark Prods. in a joint venture with Eldridge.