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The Golden Globes saw their lowest ratings ever this past Sunday night. And while this might be of concern for TV execs focused on advertising revenue, it’s a fitting reflection of COVID-era entertainment and human engagement. But the novelty of Zoom-everything is wearing thin in terms of work and play. Online “concerts” lack the essential energy of a live audience. Talk shows that went to remote-from-home formats are slowly returning to in-studio, but the distancing restrictions still feel low energy and rather flat. News shows suffer from glitches, awkward pauses, muddled audio and video, and timing issues.

The Globes were no exception. In general, self-congratulatory awards shows sort of have a tougher time right now, and maybe they deserve it. The fantasy and facade they sell and the distraction they provide via hefty doses of fashion and glamour might be desired, but they can feel tone deaf in terms what’s going on in the world.

Which is why it is so refreshing when actors and actresses utilize their platforms on these shows to speak of more important issues. Though some viewers don’t appreciate it, now more than ever, these moments feel not only right, but necessary. Hollywood legend and activist Jane Fonda, who was presented with the prestigious Cecil B. deMille award Sunday, struck exactly the right chord with her speech focusing on inclusion.

Movie-fueled escapism has helped us all get through the pandemic, but the party aspect that the champagne-drenched Globes is known for just wouldn’t work right now. Still, watching stars decked out in pricey designer gowns while sitting on their couches, no matter how nice the living rooms they’re sitting in happen to be, makes for drab TV. There were exceptions (like Andra Day’s wonderful win below) but for the most part, the excitement was null.

The good news is that without all the fanfare and frills, awards shows like the Globes become about the work. Well, mostly the work. In the Globe’s case, there was also the recent controversy to address. A recent L.A. Times piece sought to call out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – the voting body that picks the winners- for alleged unethical behavior and lack of Black members. This naturally became a big social media talking point leading up to the show.

The Black winners list was notable, though: Day for The United States vs. Billie Holiday; Daniel Kaluuya, for Judas and the Black Messiah; John Boyega for the Amazon anthology Small Axe; Pixar’s Soul, which features a predominantly African-American cast; and the late Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, for which his tearful widow accepted.

But the HFPA’s “all-white” voting body is problematic. Due to the hosts and some of the winner’s addressing it, it was more than an elephant in the (Zoom) room, at least. Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler opened the show by directly calling upon the HFPA to address this lack of representation, and as they would, they tried to make it kinda funny, too. No one was laughing, especially when members of the HFPA came out to address the problem in a seemingly performative way.

Thankfully, there were lighthearted slices of life this year, including Sasha Baron Cohen thanking his “co-star,” Rudy Giuliani (“Donald Trump is contesting the result,” he added), Jason Sudeikis’s tangent-filled acceptance speech (it was a bit right?), all the celebrity pets, kids, and yes, a lot of the fashion. Our favorite: Anya Taylor-Joy’s gorgeous green Dior frock, Tiffany jewels and platinum Old Hollywood ‘do, a combo that puts her on par with iconic Globes looks past, but will have to be remembered for how it looked against the backdrop of off-white chair in a generic room rather than a bustling red carpet.

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And the winners are…… (click linked titles to read LA Weekly critics reviews)

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Nomadland

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Director, Motion Picture
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score, Motion Picture
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, Soul

Best Original Song, Motion Picture
“Io Sì (Seen),” The Life Ahead

Best Motion Picture, Animated
Soul

Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language
Minari

Best Television Series, Drama
The Crown

Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Schitt’s Creek

Best Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
The Queen’s Gambit

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Drama
Emma Corrin, The Crown

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Supporting Role
Gillian Anderson, The Crown

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama
Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Musical or Comedy
Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Supporting Role
John Boyega, Small Axe

LA Weekly