The 2021 Golden Globes: Entertainment’s Amateur Hour


Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Tina Fey (on left) and Amy Poehler (on right) host the 2021 Golden Globes.

A.J. Fezza, Co-Culture Editor

The 2020 Golden Globes were a night to remember, but the 2021 Golden Globes on Feb. 28 were a night to forget, if you even watched the ceremony at all. Only 5.4 million viewers are currently estimated to have watched the ceremony this year, compared to 14.8 million in 2020 and 18.6 million in 2019. And really, the vast majority of the American public didn’t miss much. This year’s Golden Globes show was rife with glitches and cringeworthy attempts at humor, and somehow, even when stripped bare of its previous spectacles, the ceremony still went over its three hour allotment. 

An awkward tone was set even before the ceremony even began, during the red carpet segment. Jane Lynch and Susan Kelechi Watson spoke to actors and actresses over video calls, in interviews filled with time delays and misunderstandings. Watson also introduced the show as the “Golden Gobes.”

The hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who hosted from the separate locations of New York City and Los Angeles respectively, did an average job. They had some jokes that landed, but they clearly could not compare to Ricky Gervais’s hit performance last year. This is partially because Gervais had a larger live audience to react to his humor and partially because his routine was longer, more clever and more provocative. However, the awful interspersed comedic performances by the likes of Maya Rudolph, Kenan Thompson and Kristen Wiig made me yearn to see Fey and Poehler take back the reins.

Mistakes got even worse when the award distribution began. The first award was for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. Laura Dern announced the winner as Daniel Kaluuya and turned the show over to him. What the audience then witnessed was 20 seconds of Kaluuya speaking and gesturing passionately, with no sound coming out. The camera switched over to show Dern uncomfortably hovering around, seemingly looking at offstage workers to resolve the issue. Eventually, we were able to hear Kaluuya, but from that point on it was clear that the show would feel amateurish. Half of the subsequent award winner’s speeches would have either terrible audio or moments of breaking up. Fey and Poehler would also occasionally talk over each other. 

Before commercial breaks, instead of seeing celebrities naturally conversing with each other at tables, we were shown virtual boxes of celebrities on their own couches. Some actors plainly showed their disinterest and just texted on their phones when this happened, while others awkwardly tried to interact with each other.

When actors gave their victory speeches and began to choke up or cry, it felt especially ingenuine. Something about crying over a video call when accepting an award from the comfort of your couch isn’t nearly as convincing as when it occurs onstage.

One of the better aspects of the 2021 Golden Globes was who won the awards. Many, if not most, of the night’s victories were both expected and deserved. “Soul” won both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. Rosamund Pike won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her excellent role in the film “I Care A Lot.” “The Crown” won for Best Drama Series. “The Queen’s Gambit” won Best Miniseries or Television Film, with its main actress Anya Taylor-Joy also winning Best Actress for that show. The late Chadwick Boseman won for Best Actor in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Accepting his award, in a heartfelt and tear-filled acceptance speech, was his wife Taylor Simone Ledward. 

A common theme was that the television shows were recognizable, especially the major hits like “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Crown” and “Schitt’s Creek,” while the films awarded that night were much less recognizable. The big awards of Best Drama Film and Best Director went to “Nomadland,” yet most people have never even heard of the film. An even smaller number has an idea what it’s about. Perhaps the Golden Globes will be the impetus that gets people to watch the film before the Academy Awards this April.

Some victories, in my opinion, were unfortunate. “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” won for Best Musical or Comedy Film and its main actor Sacha Baron Cohen won for Best Actor. This gives the sequel a more impressive Golden Globes record than the original 2006 film “Borat.” However, I have yet to meet anybody who feels that “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” holds a candle to its predecessor or feels that the successes of “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” are deserved. 

Overall, the most potent takeaway from the entire show was the fact that celebrities are not special. Instead of the ceremony being the usual glamorous party that it is, this year’s show was like watching a Zoom class. This depressing show was yet another reminder of why we desperately need this pandemic to end. Even if you hate celebrities and are not a fan of these self-congratulatory award ceremonies, at least next year’s will probably be more entertaining and less painful to watch.